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The Flying Pangolin

This paper has not been written by a microbiologist or virologist but by a scholar with a background in security politics, military strategy, and history in an attempt to understand the present crisis, which demands knowledge in several disciplines. We know that the new coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) with its disease COVID-19 is very contagious. Many people have died from it, but there is a disagreement about its mortality rate, the measures used, the vaccines, and about the reliability of the figures for several countries. What we know, however, is that this pandemic totally has dominated the media coverage in the West.

In Part 1, I will discuss what COVID-19 is, whether it is a result of just a natural process or not, and I will discuss US policy and thinking about biological warfare.

In Part 2, I will discuss the spread of the virus, its likely origin, pandemic simulations, and possible explanations.

Part 1

In The Lancet article (January 24, 2020), Chinese scientists had analyzed the 41 first patients that by January 2 were confirmed to be contaminated by the new coronavirus, a new pneumonia. Many of them had been exposed to the Huanan seafood market, but one third had not. Three of the first four cases (by December 10) and the very first case, a 55 years’ old man, had no ties to the market. He was from the Wuhan area (Hubei Province) with symptoms on December 1. He would have been infected in late November. The first patient treated at a hospital was brought in on December 16. On December 15-20, all 10 new cases had been exposed to the seafood market. Up to January 2, 16 of 27 new cases had had ties to the seafood market, The Lancet wrote.[1] On December 18, a 65-years old man from the seafood market came to the Wuhan Central Hospital with a suspected pneumonia. He had had symptoms from December 15 and became worse a week later. On December 24, the hospital sent samples to a private laboratory in Guangzhou. Chief Physician for Respiratory Medicine at Wuhan Central Hospital, Zhao Su, said that the Guangzhou laboratory called back on December 27, and said that it was ”a new coronavirus”.[2] One day earlier, on December 26, Hubei Provincial Hospital had received a couple with symptoms from December 20 and 23. The respiratory doctor Zhang Jixian made a CT-scan of their lungs (also of their son), which on the next day made her notify the Wuhan Center for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC]. She had had experience from the SARS epidemy in 2002-03 and was worried for something similar in Wuhan. On December 29, the CDC laboratory found a virus similar to the SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) CoV. It was described as a “new coronavirus: SARS-CoV-2”. The alarm went off. Zhang ordered personnel to wear protection.[3]

On December 30, the Director of the Wuhan Institute of Virology called its world-famous expert on bat coronaviruses, Shi Zhengli, who was at a conference in Shanghai. The director told her: “drop whatever you are doing and deal with it now”. “The Wuhan [CDC] had detected a novel coronavirus in two hospital patients with atypical pneumonia”.[6] Chinese National Health Commission (NHC) was informed. The same day, Director of Emergency Wuhan Central Hospital, Ai Fen, saw a report about a coronavirus similar to “SARS” and notified other departments and another hospital. A doctor at Wuhan Central Hospital, Li Wenliang, wrote at 17.43 on December 30 to his private WeChat group (“China’s Facebook”): “[7] confirmed cases of SARS were reported from Huanan seafood market”. The information turned up on Chinese social media,7 which was the first public recognition of a new virus. Li had spoken about a regular SARS virus, but one hour later he corrected this. Another hour later, also other doctors, Liu Wen and Xie Linka, wrote to their WeChat groups about “a pneumonia of unknown origin (similar to SARS)” at the Huanan seafood market.[8] The Director of Chinese CDC Gao Fu actually learned about the virus from the internet. He called Wuhan CDC that had found the new virus the day before.[9] Information about the virus was published before it was scientifically confirmed. The family of the first patient had had no symptoms, while the family of the December 26 cases had, which led to precaution. Medical personnel had not yet symptoms. Most cases were from the seafood market making Chinese officials first believe that the virus originated from animals at the market rather than being transmitted via humans, but the evidence was contradictory.

On December 31, the WHO (World Health Organization) was notified: 27 cases of “pneumonia of unknown cause”: “all patients are isolated […] no evidence of significant human-to-human transmissions”.[10] Memory of SARS led to precaution. Wuhan Health Commission made an emergency notification about the “unexplained pneumonia”. They suggested people to wear face masks and avoid public spaces.[11] Also on December 31, Chinese CCTV, Reuters, South China Morning Post, and Deutsche Welle reported about a “pneumonia outbreak”, a possible SARS-like virus.[12] US Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), Anthony Fauci and the US CDC Director Robert Redfield were informed.[13] Already on January 1, US CDC had a detailed report about the virus. The Americans seemingly knew as much as the Chinese knew at that point. Chinese NHC sent an expert team to Wuhan and set up an emergency response group.[14] On January 3, Redfield was briefed by his Chinese counterpart Gao Fu. Redford told Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar that “China had potentially discovered a new coronavirus”.[15]

From early or mid-December, there were single cases of pneumonia in Wuhan, but in late December there were up to 20 cases, most of them directly linked to the seafood market. In the very last days of December, Wuhan hospitals became aware of an “atypical pneumonia”. On December 27, Zhang Jixian at the Provincial Hospital suspected a contagious virus. On the same day, the lab told Zhao Su at the Central Hospital that a patient was believed to be infected by a new coronavirus. Two days later, the Wuhan CDC identified a SARS-like virus in its lab and Chinese NHC was notified. Now, single doctors in Wuhan realized that a “new coronavirus” perhaps was the cause of a pneumonia at the market. On December 30, the Wuhan Institute of Virology was notified. A Wuhan hospital report spoke about a SARS-like virus, which appeared on internet the same evening. On December 31, the WHO was notified. The Wuhan Health Commission presented early guidelines. Media spoke about an outbreak of pneumonia in Wuhan. All this very early information appeared on December 29-31.

The City of Wuhan, however, was not pre-occupied by a couple of cases of pneumonia. The city has more than 11 million inhabitants. At the Chinese New Year (January 24-25), hundreds of millions of people visit their families, and Wuhan is the most important transport node in central China. The Spring Festival period at the Chinese New Year started at January 10. The local leadership was preoccupied by the Provincial People’s Congress on January 12-17, by the huge pre-festival banquet for 40,000 families on January 18,[16] by the Spring Festival and by the transportation of tens of millions of people through the city. When hospitals raised the issue of a few cases of pneumonia, this did not appear to be the most pressing problem. The virus had arrived at the most inconvenient time possible. Publicity was disturbing to local leaders. Local police reprimanded Li Wenliang as well as Liu Wen and Xie Linka, who had written about the virus to their WeChat groups and made it public (Li was infected in January and died on February 7. This led to uproar on Chinese internet. On February 9, China named Dr. Li a national “hero”[17]). On January 7, President Xi Jinping had given instructions about the epidemic response after a Standing Committee meeting, but central NHC experts visiting Wuhan in early January were not free to talk to the emergency doctors. Local leaders had given their own schedule priority.[18] On January 20, Xi Jinping ordered Wuhan to “put people’s safety and health as the top priority”.[19] Leaders of the City of Wuhan and the Hubei Province were replaced.[20]

On January 3, Dr. Shi Zhengli and her colleagues succeeded to identify the genetic sequences of the new virus. Shi found that the genetic sequences did not match any virus in her laboratory. She was relieved, she said.[21] On January 5-7, The Health Commission ruled out SARS, MERS and other known viruses,[22] but it was still not confirmed that the new virus was the cause of the disease. Now, 59 people were infected. China’s CDC raised its readiness level to emergency level 2 (below level 1). On January 8, the City of Shenzhen (Guangdong) reported a “first case of pneumonia with unknown cause”.[23] On January 9, a man was the first to die from COVID-19.[24] His wife had already symptoms, but she had not been exposed to the seafood market indicating human-to-human transmissions. On January 10, the WHO issued a warning: possible transmissions between humans but added: “no clear evidence”. They had not yet enough evidence to have it confirmed.[25] But soon, health personnel had symptoms. Chinese scientists published the genetic data of the new virus.[26] The Wuhan Institute of Virology developed a testing kit, and the City started to organize tests. On January 12, the Wuhan Institute together with other institutes published the full genome sequence for the WHO and the publicly available gene library called GISAID.[27] On the following day, Anthony Fauci’s Vaccine Research Center and the company Moderna had developed a vaccine candidate for manufacturing.[28] On January 13, Thailand reported a first case that had travelled from Wuhan. On January 15-16, the US and Japan had one case each, both from Wuhan. On January 19, some medical workers had tested positive. Chinese NHC confirmed human-to-human transmissions.[29] By January 22, there were 17 dead (six of the 41 first patients had died).[30] On January 23, all communication to and from Wuhan was stopped and flights from Guangzhou over Wuhan to Moscow and Rome became non-stop flights (avoiding Wuhan).[31] The City of Wuhan was put in quarantine. Soon this was true also for other Hubei cities. Companies were shut down. Hubei, a province of 60 million, was put in quarantine. National emergency was raised to the highest level: Level 1.

After backlogging, 266 cases were believed to have been infected from late December (South China Morning Post).[32] According to CNN (November 2020), a leaked 117-page document from the Hubei Provincial CDC showed 20-fold increase in the number of influenza cases from the first week of December 2019 (compared to 2018) with epicenter in Yichang 300 km west of Wuhan. Some COVID cases may originally have been diagnosed as influenza, but there was no indication of cases in November.[33] A pre-print of a Nature article (see below) indicated that SARS-CoV-2 was to 96.2 % identical to a specific bat virus and only 79.6 % similar to SARS-CoV from 2002-03.[34] On January 24, The Lancet article above was published concluding that the spread of the virus took off after reaching the crowded seafood market, where also wild animals were sold, but the virus’ origin was not the market, CDC Director Gao said.[35] The Wuhan Institute of Virology continued in their try to identify the pathogen. They completed animal experiments with infection of mice on February 6 and of rhesus monkeys on February 9 to be sure that the new virus “was the cause of the unexplained pneumonia”.[36] They now had found the virus causing the disease, but CDC in China had notified the WHO and the US already after the early indications a month before they had scientific confirmation.

The 2002 SARS-virus appeared first in Guangdong in Southern China. It originated supposedly from a coronavirus of a bat, Rhinolophus sinicus. It had been studied by Li Wendong & Shi Zhengli (Science, October 28, 2005) at the Wuhan Institute of Virology.[37] A small carnivore, a palm civet (Paguma larvata), was believed to have served as intermediate host to the first human. This had allegedly been a “wild” or natural process with mutations creating SARS-CoV.[38] Alexandre Hassanin wrote in Conservation (March 18, 2020; HAL 12 May 2020) that a genome analysis of the “new coronavirus” (SARS-CoV-2) suggests that it emerged as a combination of two viruses, not just as a mutated virus.[39] The virus RaTG13 using a specific species of a Horseshoe bat (Rhinolophus affinis) as a host was, according to Zhou Peng (Nature, February 3, 2020) to 96.2 % identical to the SARS-CoV-2,40 but the spike or RBD (the “Receptor Binding Domain”) that makes the virus able to enter a human cell was different. However, the RBD of a virus from a Malaysian Pangolin (Manis javanica) was to 99 % identical to the RBD of SARS-CoV-2 suggesting that SARS-CoV-2 is a recombination of these two viruses.[41] A similar conclusion was made by Zhang Tao (Current Biology April 2020) and Susanna Lau in the CDC journal Emerging Infectious Diseases (July 2020).[42] This hypothesis is also supported by the WHO 2021 analysis.[43] “This raises the question about the link between the COVID-19 epidemic and wildlife”, Hassanin says.[44]

However, the Pasteur Institute in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, found that two very similar viruses, RshSTT182 and RshSTT200, carried by a South-East Asian horseshoe bat (Rhinolophus shameli) were to 92.6 % identical SARS-CoV-2. In an article co-authored by Hassanin, certain sections of these viruses including certain sections of the RBD were even more closely related to SARS-CoV-2 than RaTG13. The latter had been found in Yunnan in Southern China at the border to Laos, while the former had been found in Cambodia also at the border to Laos (Vibol Hul, BioRxiv, January 26, 2021). Several Rhinolophus bat species carry viruses close to SARS-CoV-2.[45] The Malaysian or Sunda pangolin were also to be found in South-East Asia. A Thai study (Supaporn Wacharapluesadee, Virology Journal, April 2015) found similar coronaviruses in eastern Thailand at the border to Cambodia.[46] If several bat viruses in this very Rhinolophus rich part of the world are more than 90 % identical to SARS-CoV-2, one could easily imagine that such a virus had passed through a pangolin as a second host and then developed into SARS-CoV-2 through a natural process.[47]

27 prominent US public health scientists with Charles Calisher and Peter Daszak wrote a letter in The Lancet (March 7, 2020):[48] Chinese scientists and medical professionals have shared “their results transparently with the global health community. […] We stand together [with our Chinese colleagues] to strongly condemn conspiracy theories suggesting that COVID-19 does not have a natural origin. [… These] theories do nothing but create fear, rumors and prejudice that jeopardize our global collaboration.” This statement, however, was rather political than analytical, but 10 days later Kristian Anderson (Nature, March 17, 2020) suggested that SARS-CoV-2 is a result of a mutating virus and natural selection: “If someone was seeking to engineer a new coronavirus as a pathogen, they would have [used] a virus known to cause illness.” But SARS-CoV-2 is not derived from such a virus.[49] These arguments, however, were refuted by a biological weapons expert Meryl Nass: what is known to a military lab is usually not known to civilians. Such work could easily have been done in a laboratory without leaving a trace, for example, by letting a virus pass through a number of animals to change its mutations, and these senior scientists are old enough to know it, she says.[50]

Hassanin, on the other hand, argues that SARS-CoV-2 is not just a mutated virus but rather a merger of two viruses, a chimera, “a flying pangolin” so to speak (Of course, not a chimera of the two animals, a pangolin and a bat, but a chimera of their viruses, which is still different from a mutated virus).

He argues that such combination of viruses could have taken place in nature, but “chimeric viruses” are often built in a laboratory.

If the RBD of a bat virus was replaced by the RBD of a pangolin virus, this “switch of elements” could have taken place in a lab. Let’s call this virus “the flying pangolin”.

An example: In Nature (November 9, 2015 [2016]), Vinet Menachery (University of North Carolina) make a distinction between a mutating “wild-type virus” (as SARS-CoV) and a “chimeric virus”, “switching elements”.

They describe how they used cells from US Army Medical Research Institute (at Fort Detrick, Maryland) to build a “chimeric virus” combining a virus of a Rhinolophus bat with a mouse virus in order to infect the lungs of mice and to infect human cells (to develop a vaccine). Further testing on “non-human primates” is necessary before testing on humans, the article writes. But the study is also clearly aware of the risk of creating such dangerous chimeric viruses in a laboratory, and they were strongly criticized for doing it.[51]

However, it was Menachery, Ralph Baric and their team of North Carolina University that designed and performed the experiments, recovered chimeric viruses, and wrote the article, while Shi Zhengli and her Wuhan colleague provided genetic “sequences and plasmids”.[52]

The language of the article is not easy for a layman, but this “mouse-bat chimera” was certainly built in a laboratory (similar to other chimeric viruses) to become an infectious virus years before the possible “bat-pangolin chimera” of SARS-CoV-2 appeared.

Since 1999, several scientists have created a large number of chimeric viruses in labs, which have been financed by US state authorities and described as “gain-of-function” research.

A chimeric virus created in a lab from a bat virus and a pangolin virus “cannot be ruled out”, Rossana Segreto and Yuri Deigin argue (Bio Essays Wiley Online, November 17, 2020).[53]

Possibly, the flying pangolin, was, like the “North Carolina chimera”, built in a lab. At least, we should look into this hypothesis.

Peter Daszak, who was the main author of the above Lancet letter (March 7, 2020) from the 27 health scientists, referred in an interview three months earlier to Ralph Baric’s manipulation of a coronavirus in a lab.

While Daszak in The Lancet letter claimed that SARS-CoV-2 had a “natural origin”, he claimed in the interview that “you can manipulate [coronaviruses] in the lab pretty easily. [… you] can get the sequence, you can build the protein, and we work a lot with Ralph Baric at UNC [University of North Carolina] to do this. Insert into the backbone of another virus and do some work in the lab.”

This is what Daszak said in Singapore on December 9, 2019: “We [Daszak, Shi and others] have now found, you know, after 6 or 7 years of doing this, over 100 new SARS-related coronaviruses, very close to SARS. Some of them get into human cells in the lab, some of them can cause SARS disease in humanized mice models [with Ralph Baric at University of North Carolina] and are untreatable with therapeutic monoclonals and you can’t vaccinate against them with a vaccine. So, these are a clear and present danger. We even found people with anti-bodies in Yunnan to SARS-related coronaviruses.”[54] The idea was to use this knowledge to develop a vaccine before a pandemic breaks out, and this ”gain-of-function research” was described as extremely risky by several scholars.[55] President Barack Obama instituted a moratorium on this research in 2014, but it was lifted in 2017. In several countries, this research was financed by Anthony Fauci’s NIAID, for example by contracting Peter Daszak’s EcoHealth Alliance that in 2018-19 funded Shi Zhengli at the Wuhan Institute of Virology. Her Institute project, however, was only one of Daszak’s many sub-projects in South-East Asia and China.[56]

The question is why Peter Daszak, who was working with manipulation of chimeric viruses in labs, writes a letter to The Lancet claiming that SARS-CoV-2 could not have originated from a lab, and this was written already before an analysis of the virus and its spread had been made.

A French virologist Luc Montagnier, who received the Nobel Prize in 2008 for his discovery of the HIV, said in April 2020: “The characteristics of the new coronavirus [with alien sequences] could not have arisen naturally.” It must have been manipulated in a laboratory, he argued.[57]

These claims were refuted by another French scientist,[58] but an Australian team said in May 2020 that the virus was “optimized for penetration into human cells rather than animal cells”.

It is “either a remarkable coincidence or a sign of human intervention”.[59]

They argued that “the virus binds to human ACE2 receptor cells more strongly than it does to any other animal, including bats.” This clearly supports the lab hypothesis. If a bat virus had passed through a pangolin as an intermediate host even for a longer period, this does still not explain the SARS-CoV-2’s affinity to human cells.[60]

Zhang (BioRxiv, May 2, 2020) also concluded that the virus already at the Wuhan outbreak was well-adapted to human cells. It cannot have “jumped” recently from animals to humans.[61]

A UK and Norwegian team with Birger Sørensen (Quarterly Reviews of Biophysics, Cambridge, June 2020) came to a similar conclusion. Sørensen said: “The lack of mutations since its discovery [… suggests that] it was already adapted to humans. [… Certain properties] have never been detected in nature”.[62]

Segreto and Deigin argue (Bio Essays, November 17, 2020) that the most striking difference between RaTG13 and SARS-CoV-2 is “the furin cleavage site”, which makes the virus very contagious.

It is previously not identified in other beta coronaviruses (incl. SARS, MERS and SADS),[63] and according to Nicholas Wade (Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, May 5, 2021), a beta coronavirus can, in nature, only re-combinate with other beta coronaviruses, while a beta coronavirus has never been found to have a “furin cleavage site”.

On the other hand, how to add a “furin cleavage site” to a virus in a lab has been known since 1992, Wade writes, and he points to 11 gain-of-function experiments adding such a furin site to a virus, which also includes experiments made by Shi Zhengli.[64] This seems to strongly support the hypothesis that the virus has passed through a laboratory.

Wang Yanyi, Director of the Wuhan Institute, said in late May 2020 that the 96.2 % similarity of the RaTG13 (found in R. affinis) compared to SARS-CoV-2 is still a “huge difference”. These 3.8 % represents more than 1,100 nucleotide positions. She refers to the British virologist Edward Holmes, who argues that it would take up to 50 years for this bat virus to naturally evolve into SARS-CoV-2. This “requires more than 1,100 mutations in these exact positions. […] Thus, the probability is very low.”[65]

Also the Wuhan Institute seems skeptical to that the virus solely being a result of mutations “in the wild”.

Much of the new information as well as recent Western and Chinese research indicate that SARS-CoV-2 may have passed through a laboratory, but we have not enough evidence yet.

In the media, however, a virus having passed through a lab is described as a “conspiracy theory”, while a virus being a result of a mutation is described as “scientific”, but a virus could be a result of either of these processes, either of a “wild process” or of a chimeric process described in the Nature article above. From a scientific point of view, one should try to find evidence for each hypothesis to evaluate which explanation is the more likely one. Implicit in above critic of the lab-hypothesis is that “intention”, particularly “bad intention”, cannot be “scientific”. According to this approach, strategic considerations do not exist. But let us instead look at what possibly could be the more likely alternative. There are at least some arguments that make the media narrative of a “natural process”, with viruses of bats and pangolins mutating at a Wuhan seafood market, very unlikely.

Firstly, there are videos and photos showing Chinese eating bat soup or showing bats at a market, but these videos/photos are all from Indonesia or Palau (east of the Philippines). Bats do not belong to the Chinese cuisine.[66] The Huanan seafood market in Wuhan sold fish, other seafood, and meat but also live animals: birds, rabbits, badgers, hedgehogs, and snakes. Bats, however, were never a food source and never traded at the market.[67] On December 30, when the Wuhan Institute of Virology called its bat expert Shi Zhengli about an infectious coronavirus in Wuhan, Shi was first reluctant to believe it. Such a bat virus might contaminate people in the subtropical provinces of Guangdong, Guangxi or Yunnan, not in Wuhan in central China, she said.[68] Secondly, “pangolin” was not on the list of animals sold at the market. To sell pangolins is illegal in China, because the Chinese pangolin is an endangered species. It has been decimated by 90 % the last 20 years. One might argue that it was not listed because of that, and pangolins are sold in south China due to the scales used in herb medicines and due to the delicious meat. Malaysian pangolins and quantities of pangolin scales are smuggled from South-East Asia (Vietnam, Laos and Myanmar) to the border provinces of Yunnan and Guangxi in southern China. The latter also offer a natural habitat for Chinese pangolins illegally sold in these provinces. In Indonesia, you may find bats and pangolins at a market but not in Wuhan.[69]
Thirdly, in a Nature article, Zhang (May 20, 2020) wrote that in December, viruses linked to the seafood market were genetically distant to viruses found simultaneously outside the market. They belonged to different clades (see fig below) and were not closely related. Descendants of these two SARS-CoV-2 were later found in Shanghai. We have to look for their common ancestor months earlier.[70] WHO’s Marion Koppman (Science, January 31) says that genomic data indicates that the virus was possibly from mid-September,[71] but it was not until mid-December that the virus reached the Wuhan seafood market, and the very first Wuhan patients had not been exposed to the market. This excludes the market as a source of the virus.[72] The fact that viruses, already in December, was adapted to human cells also exclude the market as the source.[73] The Wuhan City shut down the market temporarily on January 1. Waste, sewage and door handles at the market were infected but not animals.[74] People at the time believed that animals at the market were the source of the virus. This hypothesis is now proven false. This is also the official view in China.[75] The Huanan seafood market was reopened in April, but trading of wild animals is still forbidden.[76]

The market boosted the spread of the virus, but it was not the origin of the virus. That was clear to the Chinese authorities already in late January.

The problem is that nothing seems to tie this specific bat to a pangolin in the natural environment of the Wuhan area. This bat (R. affinis) is living in caves at high altitudes, while central Hubei Province has an altitude of less than a hundred meters. The specific horseshoe bat that carried the RaTG13, the virus with 96.2 % similarity to the SARS-CoV-2, had been caught in 2013 in an old mine shaft in Yunnan by Shi Zhengli’s team.[77] Furthermore, pangolins are eating ants, not bats. This very species of pangolins (M. javanica) is living in South East Asia, not in Wuhan or China. David Lehman writes in African Ecology (June 17, 2020) that the Giant Pangolin (Smutsia gigantea) had been found living in burrows close to bats in Gabon in Central Africa,[78] but these are firstly very different species of pangolins and bats in a different part of the world; secondly, neither of the relevant bats and pangolins, neither R. affinis nor M. javanica, would ever be found in Wuhan or in the surrounding lowlands neither wild nor in captivity, so why would a virus from these two species appear in Wuhan? Shi Zhengli et al. (BioRxiv, May 31, 2020) presented a hypothesis arguing that the virus instead originates from Yunnan or from Laos or Myanmar (with similar caves with R. affinis) and that the virus possibly had been brought to Wuhan perhaps by a human host after years of mutations.[79] This hypothesis could possibly explain why a virus, which would not appear in Wuhan naturally, would lead to an outbreak in Wuhan. The viral outbreak in Wuhan would just be a coincidence.

Jonathan Latham & Allison Wilson (Independent Science News, July 15, 2020) presents a different hypothesis. They refer to a master’s thesis (Li Xu, Kunming Medical University, 2013) about six infected miners in 2012 in the very mine shaft in Yunnan (Tongguan town, in Mojiang county), where Shi later had collected the RaTG13 (96.2 % identical to SARS-CoV-2). The six miners were brought to Kunming after having cleaned the old shaft from bat feces. Three of them died. There had been no human-to-human transmissions, but Latham & Wilson believe that the virus may have adapted to the human cells of the miners to become SARS-CoV-2. Samples from four of the miners had been sent from Kunming to the Wuhan Institute. The thesis spoke about a “SARS-like virus”, and refers to the NHC respiratory expert, Zhong Nanshan. Lathman & Wilson believe that a sample received in Wuhan could have escaped the Lab in 2019 and led to the outbreak. Historically, there has been many lab leaks.[80] This hypothesis is, however, rejected by Shi (Nature Nov. 17, 2020). The 2012 samples had been tested for different viruses. None gave a positive result. In 2020, they had been tested for SARSCoV-2, and this was not the same virus. The miners had not been infected by SARS-CoV-2, but this incident made Shi’s team take 1,322 samples detecting 293 coronaviruses (incl. 9 beta coronaviruses) in the mine shaft.[81] However, they focused on SARS-like viruses, not on viruses like RaTG13 (stands for R. affinis Tong Guan 2013). Shi said that they only kept three living viruses in the Lab, and they had all 95-96 % similarity to SARS-CoV and less than 80 % similarity to SARS-CoV-2.

This forces us to look at the Wuhan Lab, the Academy of Science Institute of Virology in Wuhan, one of the world-leading institutes for studying bat coronaviruses. Shi and her team had collected bats from caves in several provinces, not least from Yunnan, and she had been able to show that viruses from bats could interact with human cells.[82]

She became world-famous for her 2005 Science article on the SARS virus using bats as “reservoirs” (co-authored with Peter Daszak who later financed her research).[83] She became Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology in 2019.

She collaborated with prestigious US universities like Harvard University and the US Galveston National Laboratory (University of Texas).

The US outsourced bat virus research to Shi and the Wuhan Institute with 7.4 million dollars, initially to avoid US legal constraints.

In December 2017, US lifted the moratorium on this dangerous research,[84] and the Wuhan Lab is the only Chinese BSL-4 (bio safety level 4) lab for these dangerous pathogens.

It was built with the advice of the French bio-industrial company Alain Merieux with US support and was recognized as a BSL-4 lab (the highest level) in 2018. The Galveston Lab had advised the Wuhan Lab for six years and guaranteed for its safety. It is as safe as any lab in “US or Europe”, the Director of Galveston James Le Duc said. He even spoke about the Wuhan BSL-4 Lab as “our laboratory”, as if it was a “US lab” in China.[85]

It was, however, largely a Chinese, French and US project.

The Wuhan Institute Director Wang Yanyi had studied in the US with her husband, now Vice President of the Wuhan University, Shu Hongbing. He was in the US for 15 years, primarily at the National Jewish Medical Research Center.[86] The Wuhan Institute has for years had intimate US ties. Shi Zhengli said that they had compared the genetic sequences of the new virus with the archived sequences as well as with the sequences of the living viruses they kept at the Institute. Shi found that this virus was different. Accordingly, it was called a “new” or “novel coronavirus”. Director Wang said: “How could it have leaked from our lab when we never had it?”[87]

Nicholas Wade (2021)[88] refers to an interview with Shi Zhengli in the Science Magazine (July 31, 2020), where she allegedly says that “the coronavirus research […] is conducted in BSL-2 or BSL-3 laboratories”, and Wade argues that this might very well be the reason for a lab leak. But the next paragraph indicate that they started to use the BSL-4 lab when it became available (in 2018-19). To Wade, the two words “is conducted”, are the key to understand the lab-leak from Wuhan. However, the specific tense in Chinese is not clear from the word used but from the context. If one uses present tense or past tense, one will know only from reading other sentences, and Shi seems to speak about using the BSL-2 and BSL-3 labs before the BSL-4 lab was available.

According to Washington Post’s Josh Rogin (2020), US diplomats had in January 2018 warned about the Wuhan Lab’s safety procedures in cables to Washington. The Wuhan Institute Lab supposedly “represented a risk of a new SARS-like pandemic”.[89] But these cables were sent before the BSL-4 lab was available and why would these diplomats reach another conclusion than the experts at Galveston National Laboratory that guaranteed for its safety? The US had partly financed this research, while others in the US Administration saw it as an opportunity to abandon all US scientific collaboration with China. The Wuhan Lab was the ideal target. If the Wuhan Lab could be made responsible for “a new SARS-like pandemic”, this would put an end to US-China collaboration. This might seem to be a speculative hypothesis, but later, in September 2018, Secretary of Health Alex Azar and his Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) Robert Kadlec, launched a Biodefense Strategy highlighting infectious diseases escaping a lab “accidentally”,[90] as if a leak from a foreign lab now had become central to US strategy. Of course, one could imagine a leak from a lab in any country, but the US was now primarily targeting China. The Wuhan Lab was the obvious choice. In 2017, at a US-China Workshop at the Wuhan Institute, Colonel David Franz, a former commander at US Army bioweapons lab in Fort Detrick (and soon advisor to Kadlec) discussed safety at the Wuhan Lab and proposed a “Joint ‘Table Top Exercise’ detailing hypothetical response to an outbreak” to make the staff mentally prepared for a viral outbreak.[91] In a 2018 exercise, Clade X, Kadlec’s simulations prepared the US for a virus released from a foreign lab.[92] In 2019, the new US Biodefense Strategy was followed by a series of exercises, “Crimson Contagion” (January, April, May and August), under Robert Kadlec and Department of Health simulating a viral outbreak in China, a virus spreading from China to the US with half a million dead US citizens (see below). In January-August 2019, Kadlec was preparing the US Homeland Security, the Federal Emergency Agency (FEMA) and local State Governments for an upcoming pandemic originating in China.[93] The China viral outbreak simulations were run by a US biological warfare expert, Kadlec.

Most of 2019 was used to prepare the US Security authorities and State Governments for a virus spreading from China.

From the second week of November 2019, US Medical Intelligence (under DIA) briefed the Pentagon, the Joint Chiefs, and advisors at the White House about an upcoming viral outbreak in Wuhan, China (see below). Already from 2019, the responsible US authorities were all prepared for the upcoming pandemic in 2020.

(The TV Channel ABC argued in April-June 2020 that US satellite images had shown more cars at Wuhan hospitals in October 2019 compared to one year earlier as evidence for an epidemic already from October,[94] but an epidemic would rather lead to a ban on visitors with the opposite effect. We also have to ask: was the December 30 alarm from Wuhan medical doctors just a bluff? And was the CNN’s leaked Hubei CDC document also a bluff?[95] The arguments made by ABC are not credible).

In April 2020, an Epoch Times video, “The origin of the Wuhan coronavirus”, pointed to the Wuhan Lab as responsible and to Shi Zhengli as the author of the above controversial 2015 Nature article about building a “chimeric virus” (written by US scientists at Univ of North Carolina, while Shi had provided genetic “sequences and plasmids”).[96]

Also Wade in Bulletin for Atomic Scientists (2021) claimed that Shi and Baric was responsible for the Nature article, while this was a University of North Carolina project.

Epoch Times said that Shi had created an infectious disease “to simulate infections on humans” as if this was her goal. They blamed Shi and her Institute for an article written by US scientists and for experiments done by US researchers.[97]

In May 2021, Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) told that a leaked classified Chinese document “was as close to a smoking gun” we could get for a Chinese bioweapons program. It was written by a military doctor Xu Dezhong and his colleague, but it turned out that this “secret document” had been found on Chinese internet. It had been published as a book in 2015. Already the title revealed its main thesis: the 2002 SARS epidemic was possibly a bioweapons attack on China.[98]

ASPI turned this Chinese worry into a claim that China was preoccupied with development of bioweapons using the scientists at the Wuhan Institute. Shi had supposedly hidden her own intent and responsibility for the pandemic. This claim has at least three weaknesses. Firstly, Shi is a scientist catching bats in caves in the Yunnan Mountains. She worked closely with US scientists describing her as “very open and transparent about her work, and eager to collaborate”.[99] She is a most unlikely person to orchestrate a Chinese attack on the Western World. Secondly, Shi told Scientific American that she first actually was worried about a leak from her lab. She compared the genetic sequences of the contagious virus with those they had studied at the lab and found that it didn’t match any of them. She was relieved, she said. If she had found that the new virus had matched one of their own, she is unlikely to have revealed her own worry.[100] Thirdly, the Trump Team lifted the ban on this dangerous research and “outsourced” some research to the Wuhan Lab, while his advisors also sought to end such US-China scientific collaboration and “decouple” China from the West (see below).[101]

A “leak of a virus” that is similar but not the same as a virus at the Wuhan Lab would present the ideal pretext for this US policy change.

If we look at US pandemic planning, the US seems to have targeted the Wuhan Institute Lab for more than a year.

Already in January 2020, in The Washington Times, Dany Shoham, an Israeli bioweapons expert and military intelligence officer, pointed to the Wuhan Laboratory as the likely origin of the virus, but is he a credible source? He was the one who linked the September 2001 anthrax attacks in Washington to Saddam Hussein, to justify the US war on Iraq in 2003,[102] but this lead turned out to be false. This weaponized anthrax was far beyond the capability of Iraq and was most likely from Fort Detrick, US Army Medical Research Institute (Maryland), the US Army bioweapons facility, which kept stocks of anthrax (and was trained by Japanese WWII biowarfare Unit 731).[103] Shoham was a disinformation agent from Israeli Military Intelligence. In January 2020, he planted the lead with a “Wuhan virus” released from the Wuhan bio-lab, which fits very well with the American imagination. The New York Times bestseller from 1981, The Eyes of Darkness by Dean Koontz, speaks in its 2008-edition about a Wuhan virus: “Wuhan-400”, with four hundred deadly strains. This “Wuhan virus” was supposedly a bioweapon from the Chinese bio-laboratory “outside the city of Wuhan” (the above institute). The original book from 1981, however, called this virus “Gorki-400”, because at the time Soviet Union was the enemy. Now, China is the enemy, and in the new edition, the virus is accordingly called “Wuhan-400”.[104] Secretary of State Mike Pompeo loves to speak about the “Wuhan virus”.

On March 25, 2020, when the foreign ministers drafted a communique for the G7 meeting, Pompeo insisted that the virus should be called the “Wuhan virus”. He refused to sign the final document, because the others rejected the term calling it “needlessly divisive”.

Pompeo said it was important to name the virus after its “origin”: The City of Wuhan. China has a “special responsibility”, he said. Donald Trump consistently spoke about the “Chinese virus”. In his written speech, he changed “the coronavirus” into “the Chinese virus”.[105]

Senator Tom Cotton pointed to the Wuhan Lab and claimed compensation from China for the pandemic. On March 24, a US Republican lawyer filed a complaint to get 20 trillion dollars from the Chinese Government.[106]

On April 24, Pompeo said they are working with countries “to make sure they understand” that the virus “originated in Wuhan” to push friends and allies to blame the Wuhan Lab. China should be held accountable, he said.[107]

On April 30, Trump claimed to have seen evidence giving him “high degree of confidence” that the virus was from the Wuhan Lab. They spoke about “the Wuhan virus” or “the Chinese virus” very deliberately.

The CIA and other US agencies have become very worried about China’s development of Artificial Intelligence. Eric Schmidt heading US Defense Innovation Advisory Board said in November 2017 that China’s high-tech development will overtake the US in five years.[108] Other US officials had said almost the same. The Trump Administration believed that China has profited from its Western ties. Pompeo and others concluded that the US should “decouple” China from the West, but in the US, you cannot just decide about a radical policy shift and imagine that the bureaucracy will act accordingly. You must create an incident, a “catastrophic event” and blame it on China, to change the mindset, similar to how terrorist attacks in 2001 changed the mindset for the “War on Terror”.

Already in 1983, after the terrorist bombing on the Marine barracks in Beirut with 241 dead US service men, Director of Central Intelligence William Casey called Deputy Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral James “Ace” Lyons, and asked him to collect a team of Special Forces that could act as “real terrorists” and attack US Naval bases world-wide, with bombings, kidnappings, and thefts of nuclear weapons, to make US personnel aware of the terrorist threat.[109] Instructions have little value. You had to be “physical”, Lyons said.[110] You will have to act as real terrorists to change the mindset. This is the essence of US strategic thinking: you cannot introduce a real policy change without a “catastrophic event” that will shake up the bureaucracy and the political class to make them aware of the new challenges. In 2017-18, central US figures concluded that the US had to “decouple” China from the West, and you could not do that without changing the mindset. “You had to be physical”.

President Trump was able to put all the blame for the pandemic on China and large parts of the Americans supported him. 90 % of the Republicans blamed China for the spread of the virus, a majority in both parties said that the US should pull back manufacturing and go for full-scale economic war with China. 71 % of the Republicans say that China should compensate the other countries for the pandemic.[111] It appears to be a direct link between the US’ 2020 campaign against the “Chinese virus” on the one hand and the ongoing economic war against China, including the high-tech clash (introducing the sanctions on the high-tech company Huawei) on the other.

Let us investigate this problem more in detail. Trump’s Assistant Secretary of Health Robert Kadlec was from March 2020 put in charge of the US coronavirus response. Kadlec, a Colonel of the US Air Force, was named an US Air Force Surgeon in 1986, Special Assistant on Biological Warfare for Joint Special Operations Command from 1990, and Special Advisor for Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld from 2001. Kadlec served as a director for biodefense for the White House under President George W Bush (2002-05) and as his Special Assistant on Biodefense (2007-09).[112] He has for years been the US éminence grise on biological warfare and has been running several biological warfare simulations in recent years with calculated losses of millions of people. Like earlier Air Force strategists from the US Strategic Air Command that calculated with hundreds of million casualties in Soviet and China after a US pre-emptive nuclear strike, and from the 1970s with up to 200 million Western casualties as an acceptable loss (according to declassified documents, US National Security Archive),[113] Kadlec calculated with huge losses in a biowarfare operation. In 1998, Robert Kadlec spoke about the revolution in biotechnology, and he stressed the importance of economic warfare and bioweapons as the key to the warfare of the new century.[114] In 1998, Lt. Col. Kadlec wrote:

“The twenty-first century will be a century of economic warfare [… The] emergence of economic competition […] raises the possibility of a new form of warfare. This includes the development and use of biological warfare (BW) against economic targets. Using BW to attack livestock, crops, or ecosystems offers an adversary the means to wage a potentially subtle yet devastating form of warfare, one which would impact the political, social, and economic sectors of a society and potentially of national survival itself. […Bacteria and viruses] that incapacitate or kill humans, animals, or plants have an unsettling value in waging economic warfare.”[115]

Drones were said to be spreading African swine fever destroying China’s pork industry with a loss of up to 150-200 million pigs by the end of 2019. Perpetrators were first believed to be criminals, but criminals won’t destroy a whole industry. It does not make sense.[116] We have to look at foreign actors, and the US is the only state that defines China as its enemy and directs economic warfare against it (Kadlec proposes biological warfare). Assistant Secretary Kadlec has for more than 20 years focused on the use of bioweapons to damage an adversary’s economy under the cover of a “natural disease”.[117]

Compared to other mass destruction weapons, biological weapons [BW] are cheap. A […] report places the cost of a BW large arsenal as low as $10 million. This estimated cost stands in stark contrast to a low-end estimate of $200 million for developing a single nuclear weapon. […] In the context of a deliberate act of BW, a nation could select from several native occurring or endemic pests. Selective management and breeding could develop a “super” pest, [which] could be highly specific for a particular crop that an economic competitor or regional adversary relies on for economic prosperity or national survival. To provide better cover for a clandestine or covert BW attack, pests endemic to the target nation could be similarly obtained and could enhance its resistance through such laboratory manipulation. …Using BW may inflict a grave blow to that nation’s economy or society and possibly result in some political impact. History has recorded the chaos and instability created by such natural catastrophes as famines and epidemics. Using BW in this fashion would have applications to waging low-intensity warfare with strategic outcomes.”[118]

President Trump stated officially that to damage China’s economy was the aim of US policy. This has been the task of US agencies, and this operation seems to have been successful. Now, for the first time in 40 years, China’s economy is shrinking, The New York Times wrote in April 2020.[119] The new virus appears to be an instrument for this economic warfare, a “covert BW attack”, in line with Assistant Secretary Kadlec’s own analysis. This is a new form of “hybrid warfare” that demonstrates China’s vulnerability, but no one will admit to such a vulnerability. My first suspicion came when President Donald Trump gave a coronavirus press conference at the White House (February 29, 2020). He said that he now was preventing the Chinese economy from “going to overtake us”, as if he intended to damage China’s economy by using the virus. Trump said:

“Think of it, [the US is the] biggest economy in the world, by far. China would have overtaken us in this year; they were expected to for five years. 2019, they were going to overtake us. They’re not even close, and they won’t be close as — as long as somebody smart is right here, they won’t be close.”[120]

Despite China’s economic rise since the 1980s and despite the prospect of China surpassing the US in 2020, President Trump claims that he is now able to deny China this economic growth. He does not go into details, but this was said at a press conference on the coronavirus in late February, when the virus overwhelmingly hit China and Chinese economy (over 90 % of all cases and more than 95% of all deaths were at the time in China).[121] It is difficult to believe that President Trump didn’t speak about the impact of the virus. At least, he claimed responsibility for China’s economic decline. One year later, the situation looks very different as if the virus primarily had hit the US (and Europe, Russian, Latin-America and India), but this was not the case in February 2020. In Part 2, we will discuss the fact that the virus from May 2020 largely have hit other parts of the world, not China.

Historically, Japan and the US are the only states that have used bioweapons on a massive scale (in World War II and the Korean War), and in both cases against China (or China/Korea), as confirmed by declassified documents. Japanese bio-warfare Unit 731 played a significant role after Japanese invasion of China in 1937 until the end of the war in 1945. Members of the same Unit 731 supported the US bio-warfare attacks in Korea and Manchuria 1950-53 with the use of the same kind of bioweapons, which was described by the International Scientific Commission with Joseph Needham.[122]

Today, the US is perhaps (in addition to Israel)[123] the only state with such an ambitious bioweapons program with many laboratories, not primarily in the US but in 25 “friendly countries” not subjected to US legal restrictions (such as Ukraine [with 11 labs], Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Iraq, Jordan, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Thailand, Cambodia, Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia and 9 African countries). Several of these laboratories were located in former Soviet republics.

Under Rumsfeld and Kadlec, the US used millions of dollars to recruit Soviet bioweapons experts.[125] Former Soviet labs were administrated by Kadlec’s later Special Advisor Michael Callahan of the US Defense Department (DoD) and DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) that from 2005 to 2012 handed out hundreds of million dollars for “bio-defense research” to labs, actually for “dual use” (for health science and for bio-warfare), all over the world and not least in countries surrounding Russia and China. Callahan told Congress Committee on Homeland Security in 2005:

“My reference to the Former Soviet Union program will therefore, be restricted to information gained from ongoing research collaborations with ex-biological weapons scientists from 10 Russian institutes. […] I will summarize this written testimony by reaffirming the concept that the dark science of biological weapon design and manufacture parallels that of the health sciences and the cross mixed disciplines of modern technology. Potential advances in biological weapon lethality will in part be a byproduct of peaceful scientific progress.”[126]

From 2000, the US DoD took over the former Soviet bioweapons program and initiated large numbers of biolabs bordering Russia and China.

The US DoD funded the Lugar Center (Tbilisi, Georgia) with 161 million dollars. The Center collected thousands of bats with viruses, including SARS-like viruses from Rhinolophus bats with “pandemic potential”. It studied SARS- and MERS-like viruses with the help of former Soviet bioweapons experts (MERS or Middle East Respiratory Syndrome was found in Saudi Arabia in 2012 and spread via human-to-human transmissions. MERS resulted in 858 deaths. The WHO believes that MERS-CoV originated from bats using a dromedary camel as an intermediate host127). Research has been funded by the same US sources that funded the Wuhan Lab.[128] US DoD funded two BSL-3 labs in Kazakhstan with a total of 300 million dollars. The US “Unit A1266 along with local scientists collected 40,000 ticks from 13 regions in Kazakhstan”.[129] These labs studied Tick-Borne Encephalitis Viruses (TBEV) and bat coronaviruses (SARS & MERS) but also animal diseases (African swine fever and anthrax). US cargo planes flew pneumonic and bubonic plague samples from Kazak labs to US CDC in Colorado. Similar studies were run from Azerbaijan.[130]
The Kazakh labs were built by the US military and were, to quote former Kazakh Deputy Defense Minister Amirbek Togusov, “removed from national control and operate in a secret regime”. Togusov claimed shortly before he died that the civilian biolabs were “veiled military bases born in response to the ban on biological weapons and bypassing the biological weapons convention”.[131] He said that he Central Reference Laboratory (CRL) in Almaty was for dual use (military & civilian). In early 2020, an anonymous source at CRL even claimed that the new virus (SARS-CoV-2) was identical to a virus CRL had studied two years ago.[132] This claim had enough influence to demand a denial by the Kazakh Foreign Ministry.[133] Documents showed that US civilians and military officers ran Kazakh projects studying African swine fever (project TAP-7 & KZ-35) and MERS-CoV (project KZ-33); the latter with Prof. Gavin Smith. MERS is more lethal than SARS-CoV,[134] but why did he have a project in Kazakhstan (with no dromedary camels) for studying MERS is not clear. One gets the impression that the viruses were brought to Kazakhstan, because of the legal restrictions for studying them in the US. In 2019, Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev resigned after 29 years in office. The new President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev supposedly was more critical towards the US laboratories. In 2020, at the UN General Assembly discussing SARS-CoV-2, he proposed “a special multilateral body – the International Agency for Biological Safety – based on the 1972 Biological Weapons Convention and accountable to the UN Security Council”. He seems to have approached the pandemic within the framework of the biological weapons development.[135] The above bioweapons laboratories indicates that the US Defense Department is running “an archipelago of biolabs” in former Soviet Republics. Together with the Thai Emerging Infectious Disease Science Centre and other South-East Asian labs, the Lugar Center and the Kazakh labs may have been equally important to US bat coronavirus research as the Wuhan Institute. Also, the Thai center had collaborated with both Michael Callahan and Peter Daszak.[136]

This raises the issue if the Wuhan Lab belonged to the above US “archipelago of biolabs”.

This Lab was not just built in collaboration with the Americans with projects receiving US grants and with close Chinese-US personal ties, the Wuhan Lab worked with the US bioweapons laboratory of Fort Detrick and with Peter Daszak, who collaborated with Shi Zhengli in Wuhan and with Supaporn Wacharapluesadee at the Thai institute, and with Michael Callahan, who had been financing this “archipelago of biolabs”.

Daszak took the initiative to The Lancet letter (March 2020) that denounced the lab-leak hypothesis as “conspiracy theory”, and as member of the WHO Study on the Origins of SARS-CoV-2, he described such a leak as “extremely unlikely”.[137]

No one would touch it.

The US has largely outsourced its bioweapons activity to private companies and to local labs that work on most dangerous biological agents. Military officers/scientists travel with samples between the US and local labs under diplomatic cover.[138]

David Franz (of Fort Detrick) proposed at the Wuhan workshop 2017 that transport of pathogens should be facilitated.[139]

A retired US scientist at the Fort Detrick said that the CIA laboratories had “horrified” him with their most dangerous “chimeric viruses”.[140]

The Times wrote in 1998 that Israeli scientists were developing bioweapons that were able to target the Arab enemy as Arabs. This was supposedly difficult.

“Both Arabs and Jews are of semitic origin”, but the Israelis had “succeeded in pinpointing a particular characteristic in the genetic profile of certain Arab communities.”

Times continuous: ”William Cohen, the American defence secretary, revealed that he had received reports of countries working to create ‘certain types of pathogens that would be ethnic-specific’. A senior western intelligence source confirmed last week that Israel was one of the countries Cohen had in mind.”[141] In 2000, officials of the upcoming Bush Administration, the neoconservatives from the Project for a New American Century (PNAC), argued that “advanced forms of biological warfare that can ‘target’ specific genotypes may transform biological warfare from the realm of terror to a politically useful tool. This is merely a glimpse of the possibilities inherent in the process of transformation” for the new century.[142] In 2001, President Bush withdrew from negotiations and blocked the consensus for the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (from 1972) indicating that the US now considered bioweapons “a politically useful tool”.[143] In 2005, it turned out that the US had been able to recreate the Spanish Flu virus that had killed up to 50 million people 1918-20.[144] And for what reason are US authorities using billions of dollars for research into bioweapons, viruses and their spreading mechanisms?[145] The answer is clear: The US still consider bioweapons a “politically useful tool”. Bioweapons may be equally destructive as nuclear weapons, but they are cheaper with no visible perpetrator. They are “the nuclear weapons for the 21st Century”.

The Baltimore Sun wrote in 2004 about US use of bioweapons and about documents from the Defense Department Committee on Bioweapons in 1948. The Baltimore Sun wrote:

“A gun or a bomb leaves no doubt that a deliberate attack has occurred. But if someone is stricken with a sudden, fatal illness — or an epidemic slashes across a crowded city, there is no way of knowing whether anyone attacked, much less who […]. Biological agents would appear to be well adapted to subversive use since very small amounts of such agents can be effective. […] A significant portion of the human population within selected target areas may be killed or incapacitated.”[146]

A bioweapon attack is in certain respect like a terrorist bomb attack, you don’t know for sure who did it. But different from a terrorist attack, you don’t even know if, for example, an outbreak of an epidemic actually is a result of a bioweapon attack or not. The perpetrator is accordingly able to send a dual message, an ambiguous signal that creates uncertainty, and it does not give the targeted state reason to retaliate. An attack will demonstrate the mass destruction of biological weapons that will force the targeted state to reconsider its policy, while the attacker will deny that any attack has occurred. It is all about a natural disease and local lack of medical competence, a domestic problem, he will say. Meryl Nass shows in her study of the anthrax attacks against the people supporting the anti-apartheid forces in Zimbabwe at the end of the 1978-80 civil war that these attacks almost certainly were carried out by the Rhodesian regime. Proof, however, would have presupposed a comparison of above anthrax strains and the strains of the South African laboratories. At the time, this was not possible, and it was accordingly difficult to claim that an attack actually had occurred.[147] Assistant Secretary Kadlec wrote in 1998 that this is what makes biological weapons so useful:

“A bioweapon is the only weapon of mass destruction which has utility across the spectrum of conflict. Using biological weapons under the cover of an endemic or natural disease occurrence provides an attacker the potential for plausible denial. In this context, [bioweapons] offer greater possibilities for use than do nuclear weapons. [… Bioweapons] can be employed in noncombat settings under the guise of natural events, during operations other than war, or can be used in open combat scenarios against all biological systems – man, animal, or plant. Deliberate dissemination of BW agents may be afforded possible denial by naturally occurring diseases and events. […] Biological warfare’s potential to create significant economic loss and subsequent political instability with plausible denial exceeds any other known weapon.”[148]

In the 1980s, US Undersecretary for Defense for Policy Fred Iklé (1981-87) said that one “must turn away from shooting wars”. One must turn to Political Warfare (POLWAR) and PSYOP, because these operations “pose a lower risk of escalation. […] We live in an era of POLWAR and PSYOP”, he said.[149] This was US policy, because in the nuclear age with a relative parity between the nuclear powers, one has to avoid escalation to a nuclear war; one has to focus on PSYOP and POLWAR like proxy wars, insurgencies and terrorism, because these operations do not easily reveal the perpetrator. In a proxy war or terrorist attack, you usually do not know who has financed or recruited the fighters. Not even the latter may know, and this is the point with these activities. They will not provoke a retaliation. They have no “signature”. Similarly, bioweapons have no “signature”. They give any attacker “plausible deniability”. They do not trigger nuclear war, because you cannot confirm who did it or not even whether an outbreak of an epidemic is a result of a bioweapon attack or just a result of a mutating virus that due to “a remarkable coincidence” happens to become deadly. To Secretary Kadlec and his US followers, bioweapons are considered most useful, because biological warfare could be conducted “under cover of an endemic”. Accordingly, one would expect the CIA or the US military to carry out such an attack against China, because China is described as the new enemy. After the revolution in biological warfare technology, bioweapons are considered the ideal weapons, also because they are the only weapons of mass destruction that can be used against an opponent at any level conflict, also in “peace time”. If we look at Secretary Kadlec’s arguments above and the US focus on operations without a “signature”, operations that gives you “plausible deniability”, it would be a surprise if the US wouldn’t launch such an attack against China as the new enemy and most likely as a PSYOP that also puts the blame on China for its “careless scientists”, in short: to push for the idea that a US bioweapon attack is a “leak” from a Chinese laboratory. This will single out Wuhan with its BSL-4 lab as the target, and Wuhan was hit at the worst possible time, in early January, when tens of millions of people passed the city to see their families for the Spring festival. China was hit at the worst possible place at the worst possible time. The spread seemingly started at a crowded seafood market. However, neither the fish, meat or live animals were infected, nor frozen food or chopping boards, but waste, sewage and door handles were, as if the spread of the virus originated from someone visiting the market, not from the food or animals kept at the market.

We don’t know yet how the virus entered the market or how it entered Wuhan, but we do know that the Wuhan hospitals became aware of the virus on the very last days of 2019.

Kadlec’s man, Michael Callahan, was, according to a press release, granted leave of absence from his employer at the viral outbreak in December, to go to Wuhan to study the new virus,[150] seemingly before the Chinese authorities were aware of it. He spoke about the virus ability to sit “like a little silent smart bomb in your community,” till it finds a person “and just takes them out”.[151] We may ask: why did the very people in charge of President Trumps coronavirus response think about the pandemic in military terms? Why did the US use bioweapons experts – Robert Kadlec, David Franz and Michael Callahan – to handle the pandemic? Why do they use military personell? The media coverage shows that this is not just a serious flu. It appears as a “cataclysmic event”, a huge PSYOP, seemingly directed against China in an attempt to “decouple” China’s science and economy from the West in line with the US political leadership’s interpretation of the report from the US Defense Innovation Advisory Board.

In the years to come, China may have to accept that its economic growth will be curbed by terrorist attacks, swine fever and viruses like the flying pangolin, unless China will be able to disclose the US game by presenting the scientific evidence. On May 18-20, President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Li Keqiang said that China supports the WHO in its try to find the origin of the virus. They will push for a “factual, science-based, open and transparent approach”.[152] This presupposes phylogenetic studies (the “family trees” of the virus), which we will present in Part 2. An exercise in such openness would make China appear less secretive than the US. This will have a significant role for the public debate. But are the arguments presented above sufficient? Probably not. Some of these arguments, however, point to a possible US biological weapons attack against China, but the developments from summer 2020 point also to a different interpretation, which we will present in Part 2.

Part 2

A week after the new virus had been identified, Shi Zhengli and the Wuhan Institute succeeded to identify the genetic sequences of the virus. It did not match any archived sequences or any of the three living viruses they had in their lab, she said. The latter were all close to SARS-CoV, less than 80% identical to the “new coronavirus” (or “novel coronavirus”) named “nCoV”. On January 10, Chinese scientists had published genetic sequences of the virus. On January 12, after necessary checks, all genetic data on the virus were made public via the WHO and GISAID.[153] If we accept these claims as sincere statements, the origin of the virus could not have been the Wuhan Lab, because in that case the virus would not have been a “new virus”. On January 24, above Lancet article showed that the origin of the virus was not the Wuhan seafood market. The first patients had had no link to the market, samples from animals at the market had not been infected, and China’s CDC Director, Gao Fu, said that the seafood market was not the origin of the virus. China stated officially that the “origin was unknown”.[154] Despite claims in Western media, the origin of the virus was neither considered to be the Wuhan Lab nor the Huanan seafood market. We have to look into this more in detail.

Recent phylogenetic studies with contributors from the UK, Germany and China convincingly show that the origin could not have been Wuhan, and the two studies that look at the global spread of the virus, both present two possible alternative origins: Guangdong or the US (see below).

The virus had either passed via animals to humans, for months or years, in Southeast Asia or in Yunnan to reach Guangdong and then to reach Wuhan at a later stage, or it had been sampled in for example Southeast Asia and then passed through a US or allied lab to be seeded as a bioweapon in Wuhan, which would be the obvious target for a US biological warfare attack.

In four major phylogenetic studies below, the origin of the virus is not Wuhan and possibly not even China. China’s respiratory expert at Chinese NHC, Zhong Nanshan, said already in February 2020: “Though the COVID-19 was first discovered in China, it does not mean that it originated from China.”[155]

If we accept the argument that COVID-19 is a possible US bioweapon first hitting some of the US adversaries, China, Iran, and Italy (the first European state to join China’s Belt and Road Initiative), we also have to ask: why did the US accept to become a target, the new epicenter of COVID-19? Why would the US use such weapons against itself? It is not logical.

To approach this problem, we may first look at the timeline. Initially, in January-February 2020, Wuhan/China appeared as the epicenter with hundreds of cases in mid-January, 14,000 cases on February 1, 80,000 a month later, and these figures may very well represent a conservative estimate. Soon, Iran became one of the epicenters. In March, Europe and primarily Italy appeared as the new epicenter with 100,000 cases in late March (over 400,000 in Europe as a whole), which doubled in May. France, Spain, and the UK had soon equally many cases. In the US, real testing stared in mid-March. In late April, there were close to 1 million cases and 60,000 dead, while in March 2021, there were 30 million cases and 500,000 dead. The US figures were perhaps exaggerated, and many deaths may have had other explanations, but these are the figures you will find in the media (statistics from “wordometer”).[157]

A first hypothesis was that the virus originated in Wuhan and then was spread around the globe. In several cases, the virus could be traced back to Wuhan. In Iran, a first reported case was from February 19. An Iranian merchant had travelled to China. He could have brought the virus to Iran, Wikipedia argues.[158] This seemed plausible, but the Iranian authorities were suspicious. Iran was then the only country in the Middle East seriously hit by the virus, and it had hit the religious center of Qom and particularly Government officials. In early March, former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad wrote to UN Secretary General António Guterres saying that the virus is a bioweapon attack by the hegemonic powers to maintain “an upper hand in the global arena”. It was supposedly a US attack to keep China down. The virus was “produced in laboratories” of “the world hegemonic powers”, he said.[159] The top-commander for the Revolutionary Guard, Hossein Salami, argued that the new virus might be a U.S. biological weapon against China and Iran.[160] Ayatollah Khamenei discussed in March whether the US had produced the virus, but we are patient, he said: “We will not surrender”.[161]

In Italy, two Chinese tourists had travelled to Rome on January 31. They tested positive, Wikipedia argues.162 But this does not explain the explosive outbreak in parts of northern Italy, long before that, particularly around Bergamo. The virus “may have circulated in northern Italy for weeks before it was detected”, The Guardian wrote.[163] The significant spread of the virus in Lombardy in northern Italy in February-April 2020 compared to the limited spread in the rest of Italy indicates that the virus must have been around in these areas for months. Already in November 2019, medical doctors in Lombardy around Bergamo had a “strange pneumonia, very severe” in “old people”, Director of the Mario Negri Institute in Milan, Giuseppe Remuzzi said. He was also president of the International Society of Nephrology. He continued: “This means that the virus was circulating, at least in [the northern region of] Lombardy and before we were aware of this outbreak occurring in China”.[165] In the most seriously affected areas, in October-November 2019, there had been hundreds of additional pneumonia patients hospitalized.[166] Italian National Institute of Health had collected samples of sewage water from large Italian cities once a month. Samples from both Milan and Turin revealed SARS-CoV-2 from December 18, not for November 18, but there were no samples from the affected northern Lombardy (Bergamo).[167] The Italian National Cancer Institute in Milan found, however, that several people screened for lung cancer had had COVID-19 before November. Four cases had been infected already in late September 2019. The virus circulated in Lombardy at least since that month (Giovanni Apoloni, Tumori, November 11, 2020).[168] A Rome University study with Paola Stefanelli (Eurosurveillance, April 2, 2020) found that the “phylogenetic analysis consistently placed the Italian [Lombardy] patient’s strain in a distinct cluster from the [Chinese] tourist’s strain. The strain of the Italian patient grouped with other viral strains identified in Germany and Mexico, while the strain from the Chinese tourist, related with the Wuhan virus strain, clustered with different European strains and a strain from Australia.”[169] The Lombardy virus did not originate from Wuhan. It was genetically very different.

The new evidence tells us that in parallel to the viral outbreak in Wuhan (11 million), there was also an explosive outbreak of COVID-19 in the city of Bergamo (100,000 inhabitants), a pneumonia epidemic starting in September-October already before the outbreak in Wuhan and with no link to China.

These were two different SARS-CoV-2 viruses.

A Pasteur Institute article on the spread of SARS-CoV-2 showed that the virus had circulated in France before the known “outbreak in Europe”.

Fabiana Gambaro (April 29, 2020) designed a phylogenetic tree (or “family tree”), but the tree did not have a single root. The dominant group in France was genetically distant from the strains imported from Italy and China. The latter cases had immediately been quarantined.[171] A CT scan at the Albert Schweitzer Hospital in Alsace reveals a first case already from November 16.[172] Another confirmed case of COVID-19 in France was brought to hospital on December 27 (A. Deslandes, Science Direct, May 3, 2020). Samples showed that he tested positive. He would have been contaminated in mid-December in parallel to the first cases in Wuhan. He had not travelled and had had no ties to anyone who had. His wife, who worked at a supermarket, had no symptoms. Their children had been infected.[173] The WHO spokesman Christian Lindmeier said: “This gives a whole new picture of everything”.[174] There were also an early case from 2019 in Spain.[175] After testing had started in New York from March 2020, they found that the large majority of the cases were similar to the virus found in Europe, and only a small minority had the same type of virus as the cases in Wuhan.[176] Most cases in New York did either originate from Europe or the other way around. In several countries, early cases had no ties to Wuhan or China.

In the UK, an elderly man, Peter Attwood in Kent, became ill with cough and fewer after Christmas 2019. He had pneumonia and died later in January. Tests showed that he had died from COVID-19. His daughter got similar symptoms already on December 15, and she may have spread the virus to her father. Neither of them had travelled. The virus was seemingly spreading in the UK in early or mid-December in parallel to the cases in Wuhan.[177] Johann Elsmore (JMR Publications, June 17, 2020) writes that doctors at University of California found cases from Los Angeles, some from mid-December.[178] Sridhar Basavaraju of the CDC, (Clinical Infectious Diseases, November 30, 2020) concluded in a study of blood donations that there had been 106 cases with antibodies to SARS-CoV2 in Western US in mid-December 2019, which indicate that they already had had COVID-19.[179] From October, there had been thousands of additional US “flu cases” that tested negative to the flu. Many may have been related to COVID-19.[180] These early cases had had no link to China.[181] A mayor in New Jersey, Michael Melham, tested positive for coronavirus. He had had a serious respiratory illness in late November claimed to be COVID-19. Director of American Public Health Association Georges Benjamin said: “we will probably find that this disease was here earlier than we thought.”[182] A New York study from April 2020 concludes that 20% of the population (2.7 million New Yorkers) had antibodies indicating that many had had COVID-19 perhaps months earlier without knowing it.[183]

The virus seems to have circulated in Europe and in the US before we had any evidence of the virus in Wuhan or China.

Hard facts are also showing that the virus was spreading in these countries from late September to November, but hospitals in Italy, France, and the US had no SARS experience.

Their pneumonia outbreaks, including serious ones as in Bergamo (Italy), did not make them think in terms of a pandemic. They did not make a genome analysis or report this very “atypical pneumonia” to the WHO.

The claim that the virus had infected people simultaneously in several countries appears as evidence for COVID-19 possibly being a bioweapon “seeded” at these locations.

The virus seems to have appeared earlier than first assumed.

Researchers have tried to calculate its time of origin by looking at the mutation rate, which gives you a kind of “clock”. Already on January 25, Kristian Anderson developed a phylogenetic tree based on the 27 first publicly known genetic sequences.

He found that the virus may have appeared as early as October 1.[184] As mentioned, Marion Koppman (WHO Emergency Committee) told Science (January 31, 2020) that genomic data reveals an origin from perhaps mid-September,[185] three months before the virus reached the Huanan seafood market in Wuhan. Forster (see below) arrive to a similar conclusion.

In Nature (May 20, 2020), Zhang found that viruses that appeared in Wuhan from December were two genetically distant SARS-CoV-2 implying a much earlier ancestor.[186]

Most of the SARS-CoV-2 found in Italy and France simultaneous to or before the Wuhan outbreak were genetically distant from each other and from the viruses found in Wuhan implying a much earlier ancestor, possibly many months earlier than the “Wuhan virus”. How and where the virus spread before December is not clear, but some phylogenetic studies may give us a better understanding.

Yu Wenbin published an article in Zoological Research (May 2020) using 58 haplotypes from SARS-CoV-2 that were differentiated because of mutations during human-to-human transmissions. This article by three Chinese scholars and a British professor was first published on Research Gate in late February as a preprint, and it could only include samples up to this stage. Yu organized the 58 haplotypes into five groups, with groups A and B (Clade 1) genetically close to the “original bat virus” (RaTG13) and descendant groups C, D and E (Clade 2). Group A was the “ancestral group” closest to the bat virus. This gives us a phylogenetic tree (“family tree”), where it is possible to locate the origin of the virus. The cases in Wuhan belong almost exclusively to Group C (21 Group C and 1 Group B), while the 18 cases in Shenzhen (Guangdong) belong to three groups, Group A, C and E. In China, except for Guangdong, almost all cases belong to Group C (Wuhan), while one case in Yunnan and Sichuan each belong to Group B. Cases in Thailand and Singapore originated from Group C (Wuhan), while cases in Vietnam, Taiwan and South Korea belonged to Group B (as Yunnan). One Taiwan case belonged to Group D. Cases in Australia belonged to Group B, C and D (4 cases similar to Taiwan, while one case is similar to Wuhan). The researchers had at the time (in late February) samples only from eight cases in Europe (none from Italy) belonging to Group B, C, D, like Australia, while the US had cases from all five groups (Group A, B, C, D, and E). Cases that were closest to the “original bat virus” were from Guangdong and the US (Group A), and these “ancestral viruses” were genetically distant from Group C (Wuhan).187 This seems to be definite evidence.

Yu described the virus’ origin as either Guangdong or the US, but the spread of the virus was boosted when reaching the crowded Wuhan seafood market.

In late February, the US had cases that were more differentiated, with viruses from all five groups, while Wuhan, with close to three months of mutations, had viruses belonging to just Group C (with one exception). Several cities in China had cases only from the Wuhan Group C, while Shenzhen (Guangdong), with its international ties, had viruses from three groups including the ancestral Group A with the US and Japan. Why does Group B (“ancestral” Clade 1) include the US, the UK, Vietnam, Taiwan, South Korea, and Australia with just a few ties to China, which was dominated by “descendant” Group C (Wuhan)? There was no material from Iran or Italy in this study, but their viruses were supposedly not primarily from Wuhan (Group C).[188] Viruses in Europe belonged largely to the same group as cases in New York (see above). They did not originate from Wuhan.[189] Logically speaking, the country with a virus with most variations, the US, would represent the origin of the virus, because the longer time, the more mutations, and the more differentiation. These different viruses would then have been brought to other countries from the US as the “family father”.

If we reach the conclusion that the virus has been leaked from a lab, Guangdong seems to be a less likely place of origin. This would support the hypothesis that the virus had passed through a US laboratory. Wuhan would not be the place of origin.

In the study of Yu, almost all Wuhan cases belong to Group C (Clade 2), while one case belongs to Group B (Clade 1). These two groups belong to different clades and were accordingly genetically distant. The Group B virus belongs to the “ancestral clade” (Clade 1), while the Group C viruses belong to a descendant clade (Clade 2) genetically distant from the former. However, a phylogenetic study made by Zhang (Nature, May 20, 2020, see above), shows that already in December the two distinct clades of viruses in Wuhan spread differently: one was spread at the Huanan seafood market and one was spread among patients not being exposed to the market. The virulence of their viruses was estimated to be almost the same, but the first group dominated Wuhan, because the spread of this virus had been boosted by the crowded market. Zhang found that viruses of these two genetically distant groups could be clearly distinguished after spreading to Shanghai a month or two later. The mutation rate was slow. These two types of viruses had not essentially changed. Their difference was still clearly visible after having spread to other cities. Accordingly, the “market viruses” and the “non-market viruses” – both appearing simultaneously in Wuhan in December – belonged to two genetically distant clades. This would firstly have been very much a coincidence if this had been a natural process. It would be “highly unlikely” that two different SARS CoV-2 had appeared at the same place at the same time; secondly, these two viruses must have had a common ancestor, an ancestral virus created several months earlier. It would be “highly unlikely” that this virus originated from Wuhan. If it had spread in Wuhan for months, there would have been hospitalized patients already in September-November. The hospitals would have remembered all these cases. The article of Zhang confirms the article of Yu Both these studies appear to be evidence for another origin of SARS-CoV-2 than Wuhan.

A third phylogenetic study by Peter Forster (University of Cambridge) with contributors from the UK and Germany was published by Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (PNAS, April 8, 2020). Similar to Yu, they studied the differentiation of the virus as a result of mutations after human-to-human transmissions in China, East Asia, Australia, Europe and the US. Like the former authors, they divided the viruses into groups, but they concluded with three main “types” instead of two “clades” (and five “groups”). The type closest to the “original bat virus” (RaTG13) is called “Type A” with two subclusters: one closer to the “original bat virus” and one more distant. Cases from Type A were found in Guangdong and Japan but largely outside Asia in the US, Australia, and Europe. The group that totally dominated China and particularly Wuhan is the descendant to the former, and it is called “Type B”. Only a very limited number of individuals from this group were found outside China (in the US, Canada, France, and Germany and one in Italy and in Australia). Type B is on the other hand the parent group to a third group, “Type C”, which is found primarily in the US, in Europe – in England, France, Italy and Sweden – and in East Asia outside mainland China including Hong Kong, Taiwan and South Korea. The first Brazilian was infected after having been in Italy, and he supposedly belonged to this Type C. This study was made a month after Yu and used largely the same samples, the empirical material that then was available, but they included also later samples (many of them classified as Type C).[190]

The classification of Forster is very similar to the one presented by Yu Yu’s Group A and B corresponds almost exactly to Forster’s two subclusters of Type A. Yu’s Group C (Wuhan-China) corresponds to Forster’s Type B, while Yu’s Group D and E would to some extent correspond to Forster’s Type C, but the later samples of Forster make this study different from Yu Forster’s Type A (Yu’s Group A and B or Clade 1) is according to Forster (and similar to Yu, “the ancestral type” close to the “original coronavirus” RaTG13. Both articles presuppose that the spread of SARS-CoV-2 was boosted by the crowded Huanan seafood market, but they also conclude that the virus most likely originated in either the US or Guangdong (belonging to the ancestral Type A and closest to the original bat virus). Type B from Wuhan, from the seafood market (first sampled on 24 December), is most distant to the original bat virus. Forster ask themselves whether the root of the family tree can be found “by using the oldest available sampled genome as a root?”, and they answer: “the first virus genome that was sampled on 24 December 2019 [in Wuhan] is already distant from the root type [the original bat virus].” The virus’ origin might go back to September 2019, they argue.[191] We have to conclude: In neither of these studies (Yu, Zhang or Forster does the “Wuhan virus” appear to be the origin of SARS CoV-2. Both Forster and Yu point to Guangdong or the US. If the virus has passed through a lab, the US would be a more plausible alternative. Forster largely confirms the earlier study of Yu

A fourth phylogenetic study made by Shi Zhengli (BioRxiv, May 31, 2020) found, and I quote: “SARS-CoV-2 is likely derived from a clade of viruses originating in horseshoe bats (Rhinolophus [family]). The geographic location of this origin appears to be Yunnan province. However, it is important to note that: 1) our study collected and analyzed samples solely from China; 2) many sampling sites were close to the borders of Myanmar and Lao PDR; and 3) most of the bats sampled in Yunnan also occur in these countries, including R. affinis.”[192] Shi supports the hypothesis that the virus originated in Southeast Asia (Myanmar, Laos or Yunnan) and slowly developed into the present virus. This hypothesis is supported by recent studies concluding that R. shameli viruses in Cambodia close to Laos are also more than 90 % identical to SARS-CoV-2 and that there are studies in Thailand confirming this (see above). Shi’s hypothesis is also supported by the fact that there are very few cases of COVID-19 in Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam, and in Myanmar the number of cases were few until the radical increase from September 2020,[193] as if the populations in these countries already were largely immune to the early form of the virus. Up to early 2021, there were no known deaths from COVID-19 in Laos and only one in Cambodia. This may be the strongest argument for a zoonotic origin of the virus.[194] Alexandre Hassanin writes in The Conversation (February 4, 2021):

“These data indirectly support the hypothesis that the SARS-CoV-2 group actually originated in mainland Southeast Asia. Indeed, human populations in Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam appear to be much less affected by the COVID-19 pandemic than other countries in the region. […] This suggests that the populations of these four countries may be benefiting from a level of herd immunity. [… Chinese researchers] found more than 100 SARS-CoV-like viruses but only two related to SARS-CoV-2 [on the border to Laos]. The new data thus validates the hypothesis that SARS-CoV-2-like viruses are present mostly in Southeast Asia, while SARS-CoV-like viruses are dominant in China.”[195]

This would support the hypothesis of a slow natural process. At least, we cannot exclude this alternative. British-Australian virologist Edward Holmes argues that the R. affinis virus, RaTG13, with its 96.2 % similarity to SARS-CoV-2, would need up to 50 years of mutations to develop into SARS-CoV-2,[197] but evidence from Cambodia tells us that SARS-CoV-2-like viruses appear in Southeast Asia, and another virus may, after years of mutations, have reached first Guangdong and then as SARS-CoV-2 Wuhan, where it spread rapidly, because of the crowded seafood market.

Lathman & Wilson (2020) presents a conflicting hypothesis with a virus that had infected six miners cleaning an old copper mine from bat feces in Yunnan. Samples of this virus had been sent to the Wuhan Institute (see above). Lathman & Wilson believe that the virus had adapted to the human cells of the miners and that a sample in 2019 had escaped the Wuhan Lab, which would have led to the outbreak. Leaks from labs have happened before.[198] But firstly, Shi Zhengli writes that the samples of the miners were not infected by SARS-CoV-2 but by a very different virus that they also had studied. Secondly, a possible escape of a virus from the Wuhan Lab in 2019 does not explain why this virus at the outbreak in Wuhan in December 2019 already existed as two genetically different SARS-CoV-2 with a common ancestor originating months earlier and not in Wuhan. The dominating virus from the seafood market belonged to a descendant clade (Yu’s Group C, Clade 2; and Forster’s Type B), and would apparently already have passed through Guangdong and the US. Thirdly, a virus leaked from the Wuhan Lab cannot explain why it was found in September-November 2019, in Italy, France, and the US already before the Wuhan outbreak. The hypothesis of Lathman & Wilson cannot explain the complicated history of the virus by letting it “jump” from Yunnan to the Wuhan Lab in 2012, and then accidently being released from the lab in late 2019. Shi Zhengli on the other hand has difficulty to explain why the virus seems to have appeared in Europe before China. Also, she cannot explain why some sequences “appear to be artificially inserted”. “The furin cleavage” of the spike protein “greatly enhances viral spread in the body”.[199] It makes the virus very contagious, and it has not previously been identified in beta coronaviruses. The transmissibility of the virus appears to have been added artificially, Segreto & Deigin (2020) argue.[200] However, the WHO Covid-19 origin report (2021) argues that this furin cleavage site has already been found in other animal viruses.[201] But the fact that it has not previously been found in other beta coronaviruses may possibly indicate that it has passed through a lab, and this lab alternative seems now also to be recognized in China. Liu Jun from China CDC said: “The Beijing’s outbreak [at Xinfadi market in June 2020] gives us the opportunity to reexamine our previous speculation that the virus originated from wildlife, because unlike Wuhan’s wet market, the possibility of wildlife causing Beijing’s latest outbreak is slim.”[202] Some indications point to the hypothesis that the virus may have passed through a laboratory.

On May 18, President Xi Jinping told the World Health Assembly that “[China supports a] comprehensive review” of the pandemic conducted in an “objective and impartial manner”. China supports a World Health Assembly Resolution drafted by Australia and the EU “calling for an inquiry into the origin of Covid-19”.[203] Prime Minister Li Keqiang said that a science-based WHO inquiry into the source of the virus is important (a first WHO inquiry that only looked at China and Wuhan was carried out in early 2021).[204] In August 2020, Foreign Minister Wang Yi said that reports showed that “the virus emerged in different parts of the world, and may have emerged earlier than in China”.[205] In January 2021, he summerized the year 2020 and said: ”More and more research suggests that the pandemic was likely to have been caused by separate outbreaks in multiple places in the world.”[206] But his statement about ”separate outbreaks” does not indicate that viruses simultaneously had jumped from bat to human ”in multiple places in the world”. It indicates rather something else.

Already in March, after US President and State Secretary had blamed China for the virus, the Foreign Ministry’s spokesperson Zhao Lijian said: “It might be the US army who brought the epidemic to Wuhan [to the Military World Games in 18-27 October 2019]”. This statement caused a US-China dispute.[207] The US team of 172 athletes (Wikipedia) with altogether 369 US participants (according to a Chinese TV journalist) received almost no medals.[208] Despite having world famous athletes and being by far the most important military force in the world, the US came in as number 35 after Tunisia and Namibia, far behind countries like North Korea and Bahrain and with China, Russia, Brazil, France, Poland, and Germany at the top. While China received 133 gold medals, the US got none (except for one outside the formal games). 110 countries participated in the Games. The US had one of the largest teams but no success.[209] The Chinese, of course, wondered what kind of task all these hundreds of US military officers had in Wuhan, because the World Games were clearly not their priority. The US was now defining China as its enemy, bioweapons as a weapon of choice and Wuhan as the apparent target for such an attack. What did all these hundreds of US military officers do in Wuhan days prior to the outbreak? Chinese Global Times asks if someone from the US team were “patient zero” and if the US will release health information for the US team.[210] For Global Times, Wuhan was not the likely origin of SARS CoV-2.[211] These Chinese arguments are possibly supported by a couple of French and Italian athletes claiming to have been infected by COVID-19 at the Games.[212] The first known Chinese patient had symptoms on December 1 and was supposedly contaminated in second half of November, on November 17 at the earliest,[213] shortly after the games.

On the first day of the Wuhan Military World Games (October 18, 2019), John Hopkins Center for Health Security, World Economic Forum, and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation ran a coronavirus pandemic exercise, “Event 201”, with Avril Haines (President Obama’s Deputy National Security Advisor, Deputy CIA Director, and now President Joe Biden’s Director of National Intelligence); with Rear Admiral Stephen Reed (Director for Preparedness Response US CDC); with Robert Kadlec’s coauthor, Air Force Colonel Randall Larson; with directors of US medical companies, with China’s CDC Director Gao Fu and with WHO Deputy Director Michael Ryan, who said that “the scenario you will be presented with this morning can easily become a shared reality one day. I fully expect that we will be confronted by a fast moving, highly lethal pandemic”. Event 201 simulated a global shutdown with 65 million deaths after 18 months and two waves of a global pandemic. Admiral Reed concluded that we had to be on “war footing”. Internet was censured and partly shutdown to cope with “false information”. The virus was said to be “a cousin of SARS but slightly more transmissible, like the flu, and slightly more lethal” with “symptoms ranging from mild flu-like signs to serious pneumonia”.[214] From this description, the Event 201 virus appears to be identical to the SARS-CoV-2 that appeared in Wuhan 2-3 months later. The symptoms were identical to the upcoming COVID-19. In general, this simulated outbreak was very similar to the pandemic we had in 2020, although up to now the COVID19 has been less lethal than the “Event 201 virus”. The exercise’ name for this coronavirus, “nCov”, was the same as the name given to the disease in Wuhan in late December, “2019 nCoV”, but in February 2020, for obvious reasons, the latter name was changed to “COVID-19”. When The New York Times, one year after the Wuhan outbreak, asked Melinda Gates how prepared they were for COVID-19, she said that they were quite prepared for how the virus travelled around the world, but: “What did surprise us is, we hadn’t really thought through the economic impacts”. Of course, “Event 201” had studied the consequences for the air traffic and the airplane producers, for travel agencies, tourism, hotel business, restaurants, and an economy in free fall, but the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (or more precisely “Event 201”) hadn’t really thought through to what extent people would be “working from home”.[215] To really be prepared for it, you have to have a “live exercise”.

Already in November 2019, US National Center for Medical Intelligence (NCMI part of the DIA or Defense Intelligence Agency) was warning about an upcoming viral outbreak in Wuhan, four sources told TV channel ABC in April 2020.

Concerns about the pandemic were detailed in a November intelligence report. Two officials familiar with the document said: “Analysts concluded it could be a cataclysmic event”.

The DIA, the Pentagon’s Joint Chiefs and the White House (not the President but presumably the National Security Advisor and his Deputy) were all briefed. “From that warning in November, the sources describe repeated briefings through December.”[216] The Times of Israel added:

“US intelligence agencies alerted Israel to the coronavirus outbreak in China already in November [ 2019 …]. According to Channel 12 news, the US intelligence community became aware of the emerging disease in Wuhan in the second week of [November] and drew up a classified document. […] Israeli military officials later in November discussed the possible spread of the virus to the region [the Middle East] and how it would affect Israel and [its] neighboring countries.”[217]

This US awareness of a viral outbreak in Wuhan cannot have been based on hospital reports (such reports did not yet exist; the first hospitalized patient was supposedly from December 16 and Wuhan hospitals became aware of a new virus on December 29-31). Document from the Hubei Provincial CDC leaked to CNN showed 20-fold increase in the number of influenza cases from the first week of December 2019, which may indicate that COVID-19 had started in the Hubei Province 300 km west of Wuhan, in early December, but local Chinese authorities still believed that they were fighting an influenza. The NCMI intelligence cannot have been based on information from the hospitals but rather from those agents releasing the virus. The US seems to have been fully aware of an upcoming epidemic in Wuhan, and possible of a global pandemic, long before China. President Trump was supposedly not briefed until January, but on sensitive issues, US policy has always been to give the President and the most senior officials “plausible deniability”. They should not be briefed in advance. They should be able to deny any knowledge to be able to say: “I didn’t know”.

Historically, Director of Central Intelligence Allan Dulles was chairing the 5412-Committee in the 1950s, National Security Advisor McGeorge Bundy was heading the 303-Committee in the 1960s, National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger was chairing the 40-Committee in the 1970s, and Director of Central Intelligence William Casey was chairing a corresponding committee in 1980s that all dealt with the most sensitive US covert operations (like assassinations, coup d’états, and psychological operations) that the President should be able to “plausibly deny” all knowledge about. This has always been US policy. However, this covert activity could also develop into a policy parallel to that of the President. These very hidden inter-agency committees took the decisions on covert action. However, if the covert world did not find the President “trustworthy” enough, it could use this tradition of “plausible deniability” to conduct a parallel policy in conflict with the President: a policy of the “Deep State”.[218] Statements made by President Donald Trump’s former National Security Advisor John Bolton, his successor Robert O’Brien, O’Brien’s deputy Matt Pottinger and several others indicate that they not just had given the President “plausible deniability” but rather had run their own policy, to undermine Trump’s Presidency. We will look at this more in detail below.

A journalist from China Global Television Network asked why US Army Medical Research Institute in Fort Detrick, Maryland, was shut down for several months from July-August 2019.[219] The US CDC ordered the institute to close referring to “safety concerns”. They could not speak about it because of “national security”, The New York Times wrote.[220] Fort Detrick has for years been a major US bioweapons facility (Since 1980s, it has also collaborated with the Wuhan Institute).[221] Also in July 2019, a “senior living community” in Fairfax (south of Fort Detrick) reported about a contagious respiratory illness, a pneumonia. One fourth of the elderly became ill, and one third of these were brought to hospital. A couple of them died.[222] There were also reports about a serious respiratory illness in the US in the autumn of 2019 with thousands of cases testing negative to flu and with a significant number of surplus deaths (see above). CDC Director Robert Redfield admitted that some people, who were said to have died from flu, had died from COVID-19. How many of those deaths were “misdiagnosed”? the Chinese journalist asked.[223] This possibly supports the Chinese suspicion that the COVID-19 had started in the US months earlier and was it covered up as a regular flu.[224]

On December 31, the WHO was briefed about the virus. The same day Robert Redfield of US CDC and NIAID Director Anthony Fauci saw a report about the virus. Fauci told Bob Woodward it ”scared the hell out of him”. He was worried about a ”catastrophic pandemic”.[225] This was at a time when the Wuhan hospitals knew about a dozen of cases possibly infected by animals at a market. A couple of Chinese doctors had worried about human-to-human transmissions, which was confirmed weeks later.

But already before the Chinese knew about a contagious virus, Fauci spoke about a ”catastrophic pandemic”, a worldwide viral outbreak. Three years earlier, Fauci had anticipated that such a pandemic would rage the Trump Presidency (see below).

On January 1, the US CDC presented a detailed report about the disease with all information then awailable in China (see above photocopied by Woodward).[226] It seems that US authorities, in the very last days of December, were more prepared for the new virus than their Chinese counterparts. On January 5, the WHO launched an “Emergency preparedness response” to a “pneumonia of unknown cause” in China.[227] On January 8, US CDC presented a similar Response. All US Wuhan travelers with symptoms was supposed to notify the CDC.[228] They were to be re-directed to five US airports to be screened.[229] On January 10, WHO recommended precaution based on experience from SARS and MERS.[230] Fauci took the decision to develop a vaccine.[231]

On January 12 (January 11 US time), Chinese authorities shared the genetic sequence of the new virus, which was published by the WHO and the public gene library GISAID. The next day, Fauci’s Vaccine Research Center and “Moderna’s infectious disease research team finalized the sequence for the SARS-CoV-2 vaccine and Moderna mobilized toward clinical manufacture”, Moderna wrote.[232]

A day after the Chinese had identified the genetic sequence and made it public, Moderna had finalized sequences for the new vaccine and moved “towards clinical manufacture”. How is this possible? A European vaccine producer told that Moderna must have had the virus before January.[233]

The Moderna vaccine had received grants from Michael Callahan’s DARPA. Why was the Defense Department financing this vaccine? On January 14, WHO proposed further precaution”.[234] Five days later, China confirmed human-to-human transmissions.[235] On January 23, the WHO International Emergency Committee for the outbreak had its first meeting.[236] On the same day, China isolated Wuhan with 11 million inhabitants and soon the whole Hubei Province (60 million). Communication with the rest of China and the world was shut down.

Bob Woodward’s book Rage (2020) give us some leads. While President Trump had told that there was only one US case that had come in from China, US National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien told Trump at a top-secret intelligence briefing on January 28: “this virus is going to be the biggest national security threat to your presidency”.[237] O’Brien’s Deputy, Matthew Pottinger was a young military intelligence officer fluent in Chinese and with network in China and with experience from SARS in China in 2002-03. He was appointed in September 2019, as if China and a similar pandemic would become a major issue. He told Trump: “Don’t think SARS 2003. Think influenza pandemic 1918” (the Spanish Flu, which killed up to 50 million people and with about “675,000 deaths in the US”).[238]

The next day, Trump’s trade advisor Peter Navarro told: [the virus could] put millions of Americans at risk of illness or death [… and evolve] into a full-blown pandemic”.[239] On January 31, Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar declared a public health emergency.[240] Flights between US and China were stopped. “This is deadly stuff”, Trump told Woodward after his talk with President Xi. It is transmitted through the air. “You just breath the air”, Trump said. On February 3, the WHO launched a “Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan” to advise countries on “active surveillance, early detection, isolation and case management”.[241] Despite this emergency plan, the US didn’t act until 1.5 month later. From January to early March, President Donald Trump tried to “play it down”: “A lot of people think it goes away in April with the heat”, he said on February 10.[242] “It’s like a miracle – It will disappear”, he said on February 27.[243] But already in January, Trump knew that he risked millions of lives and that early testing was crucial, but as he told Woodward (on March 19): “To be honest with you, I wanted to always play it down. I still like playing it down”.[244] He didn’t start testing until mid-March. By March 31, the US had 200,000 cases, in late April one million and in late May close to two million cases and 100,000 dead.[245] The Democrats, the CNN and The New York Times described President Trump as “incompetent”. They spoke about a “crucial lost month”.246 But why would he “play it down” risking the lives of hundreds of thousands of Americans for no reason? It is certainly not about avoiding “panic”, as he told Woodward.[247] The only credible explanation is that the US epidemic had started earlier, last autumn. If the US had started testing already in January, which all responsible people demanded, this would have been obvious to everyone. In January, an infectious disease expert in Seattle wanted to test patients for coronavirus, but she was denied doing it.[248] By January 20, US CDC had developed its own testing kits, but this testing was stopped.[249] In February, WHO had shipped tests to 60 countries, but the US declined to use them.[250] The WHO said that testing was most important, but the US refrained from doing it. Instead of admitting that the virus was spreading in the US last autumn, US agencies had supposedly brought it to China. President Trump could then claim that the explosive spread in the US came from China, from a leak at the Wuhan Lab.[251] By blaming China, Trump could limit domestic criticism during a Presidential Election Year and justify drastic measures against China as the new enemy. President Trump and his security advisors were seemingly able to hit two birds with one stone. This would explain why the White House coronavirus meetings, already from January, were highly classified making civilian experts unable to participate. If the Administration primarily had been interested in limiting the impact of COVID-19, this would not have been necessary.[252]

But this is not the whole truth. President Trump spoke in January 2020 about president Xi Jinping as someone he trusted and could do business with. Trump had a “great relationship” with him, and he praised President Xi’s handling of the coronavirus at least 15 times in January-February 2020. Trump said on January 22: “We have it totally under control. It’s one person coming in from China […] It’s going to be just fine.”[253] And that is what his advisors, the “China hawks” Pompeo, O’Brien and Pottinger, would have told him. They may have convinced him to postpone all testing, so they could blame China for the virus in an attempt to “decouple” China from the West. But this does not explain why these advisors “outed” Trump to Woodward. Why were they not loyal to their own President? Denial of US cases in January-February and delayed testing had become vital for them to be able to blame China, but this would also increase the number of cases in the US, which would put the US economy and Trump’s re-election at risk. The delayed testing appears to have been a trap for Trump that would ruin his election campaign. While Trump, after the November election, spoke about a huge “election fraud”, his national security advisor O’Brien spoke about a “professional transition” to the Biden team.[254]

Trump’s White House health advisor on the virus, Anthony Fauci, who had his Moderna vaccine going through final tests in October, presented the vaccine to the public, not before but days after the election, as if he wanted to sabotage Trump’s re-election on purpose. President Elect Joe Biden recruited Fauci as his Chief Medical Advisor already in November.[255]

Trump’s first national security advisor, Michael Flynn, was a critic of Hillary Clinton and of her support for the Islamists in Libya and Syria. He was a critic of the US wars in the Middle East. When Flynn was forced out after a routine conversation with the Russian Ambassador, Trump may have realized that they wouldn’t let him chose his own Cabinet. In 2016, Trump had promised to withdraw from all wars in the Middle East, but he soon hired the most war-prone pro-Israeli ”Iran hawks” (Bolton & Pompeo), ”the China hawks” (Pompeo, O’Brien & Pottinger), and ”the biowarfare hawks” (like Kadlec). Trump was a bussiness man and perhaps a brutal negotiator but not a war hawk. Now, after the November election, one gets the impression that his advisors, who ran this hawkish policy, were all working with him to bring him down. After the election, they all turned their back to him.

This forces me to re-evaluate my hypothesis from Part 1. The Trump Administration was not President Trump’s administration. The virus that Trump had blamed on China was seemingly also directed against Trump’s Presidency. One might also look at the role of the financial elite that profited from the pandemic. President Trump’s March-April six trillion stimulus package was a transfer of huge resources to this wealthy elite, as if they had used the pandemic for their own purpose. It was not the US that had used bioweapons against itself. One hypothesis is rather that this wealthy elite had used bioweapons also against the US to transfer wealth to themselves, to shape a new society, and in the final analysis to bring down Trump as an erratic and less trustworthy president. COVID-19 had become a money-making machine,256 but also a political instrument to influence the election. The virus had seemingly become a weapon in the hands of this elite to damage the Trump Presidency, while “the China hawks” used it to destroy US-China relations, to blame it on China.

But let us take a step back: Would any US elite run a global pandemic that seriously damages the economy without first running a test, a “live exercise”?

On March 21, 2020, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo described COVID-19, not as a “pandemic” but as a “live exercise”, which possibly would indicate that today’s pandemic is a “dry run” for an upcoming, more serious second pandemic. We can hear President Trump in the background saying: “You should have let us know”.[257]

How should we interpret this? Who is running the show? Was this just spectacle or rather a sign of Trump being screened from essential information?

Today, we have more than two million dead, which is far from Robert Kadlec’s “Clade X” simulation in May 2018, which ended up with 8.7 million dead,[258] and the “Event 201” simulation in October 2019 with upcoming Director of National Intelligence (DNI) Avril Haines, which after a second wave ended up with a much higher figure: 65 million dead.[259]

From May-June 2020, Western media started to speak about a “second wave”, a second outbreak. The US October 2019 simulation (Event 201) with Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and President Biden’s upcoming DNI Avril Haines spoke about a more deadly “second wave”, and US agencies would obviously try to blame it on China. In short, already in May, when the talk about the second wave started, you had reasons to believe that it would be initiated in China but not in Wuhan. Following the logic of Secretary Kadlec, US agencies would rather prefer to let a second wave hit the “heart of China”, the center of Beijing’s food-supply: the huge market of Xinfadi distributing 80% of Beijing’s agricultural products. On a daily basis, Xinfadi sells 20,000 tons of fruits 18,000 tons of vegetables, 1,500 tons of seafood and 3000 pigs with a market staff of 10,000 people. After Beijing had been free from the virus for almost two months, 300 people were suddenly infected.[260] All cases had had contact to the Xinfadi. The market and nearby districts were closed. Thousands of flights were cancelled.[261] In the West, people are now “pre-tuned” to believe that viruses originate from food markets. Xinfadi, the heart of Beijing’s food supply, was an obvious target. Its economy is of the size of entire countries. The crowded market let the virus spread rapidly. Already from reading Kadlec, we could easily imagine that a “second wave” would start at Xinfadi. China CDC found that the outbreak originated from a chopping board for salmons. The first suspects were local worker, but this specific virus did not originate from China. Its genetic sequence was from a European strain excluding a Chinese origin. A second suspect was the exporting country, Norway, but the salmon producing towns in Norway were never infected. The salmon itself could not have been infected although packages of frozen fish could, which now is considered a vulnerability problem.[262] But more important, this virus was “older than the current European coronaviruses”, the CDC said.[263] Someone had apparently brought an archived (or frozen) sample from Europe to China. This leads us to the third suspect: a European or an American deliberately trying to trigger a second wave, because Xinfadi is certainly the place to target. It seems that the rapid response from Chinese authorities indicates that they may have been aware of this possibility, but one would not be willing to talk about it.

But let us go four years back in time. Anthony Fauci spoke at Georgetown University on January 11, 2017, a week before the inauguration of President Trump: “the topic today is the issue of pandemic preparedness.

And if there is one message that I want to leave with you today [… it] is that there is no question there will be a challenge to the coming administration in the arena of infectious diseases”, and he said: “there will be a surprise outbreak”.

During this new Trump Administration, there will be a viral “surprise outbreak” coming from “beyond our own borders”.[264] Fauci had been financing the most dangerous virus research, and one day earlier, in the last days of the Obama Administration, the White House guidelines opened-up for this research.[265]

Also, in 2017, a later advisor to Robert Kadlec proposed an “exercise”, a simulated outbreak from the Wuhan Lab (see above). In 2018, despite that US’ most prestigious lab had guaranteed for its safety, others in the US questioned the Wuhan Lab’s safety procedures and warned about a “SARS-like pandemic”.266 Secretary Alex Azar and Kadlec launched a new US strategy focusing “[on] infectious diseases that escape the lab accidentally” (see above).[267] The US now prepared for an upcoming leak from a lab with a pandemic outbreak, which would be the logical cover for an offensive bioweapons attack. The Wuhan Lab, China’s only BSL-4 lab for these pathogens, was the obvious target. In 2019, Azar warned about a global pandemic,[268] while Kadlec ran simulations preparing US agencies for a viral outbreak in China, a respiratory virus spreading from China to the US with half a million casualties in US alone.[269] Kadlec’s exercises had for months prepared the US security community for exactly the kind of pandemic we had in 2020. In October 2019, Kadlec’s colleague Randall Larson participated in the Event 201 simulation with a SARS-like coronavirus pandemic characterized by identical symptoms as COVID-19. From the second week of November, US Medical Intelligence warned the White House, the Pentagon, and the Israelis about a viral outbreak in Wuhan. The Administration was very much prepared for this event, Azar said. On December 4, 2019, Kadlec told Congress that the risk is that we will have a very severe pandemic “and that will devastate our country”.[270] Kadlec’s Special Advisor on COVID-19, Michael Callahan, was granted leave of absence from his position in December to go to Wuhan. He was there from the outbreak in early January. He studied Wuhan medical records for over 6000 hospitalized patients.[271] Azar headed the White House Coronavirus Task Force, but the many demands for early detection by testing were not implemented. Politico (March 2, 2020) wrote that Azar, like Trump, had publicly played “down the risks of the virus — saying for weeks that there were just more than a dozen U.S. cases”.[272] He had been a Deputy Secretary under President George W. Bush. Azar and Kadlec played an important role in misleading the public in Robert Mueller’s FBI investigation of the September 2001 anthrax attacks. The attack had targeted Senator Patrick Leahy and Senator Tom Daschle, who had blocked the passage of the Patriot Act by refusing to sign approval for these emergency laws.[273] After having received letters with anthrax, they both backed down and signed approval. The anthrax was a US strain most likely from Fort Detrick. It was Kadlec who named the bio-warfare exercise in 2001 “Dark Winter”. It was a simulated bioterrorist attack on the United States presumably launched by Iraq. Similarly, to the Israeli bioweapons-expert Dany Shoham, one important Dark Winter participant, former CIA Director and neoconservative James Woolsey, blamed Iraq for the anthrax attacks in Washington to justify the upcoming 2003 war against Iraq. On 14 May 2020, Kadlec’s subordinate Rick Bright told Congress that “2020 could be the darkest winter in modern history”.[274] In the final Presidential Debate in October 2020, Joe Biden warned about an upcoming “dark winter”, and on January 15 he said: “We remain in a very dark winter”, as if he loved to use the phrase of Kadlec.[275] As mentioned above, Biden recruited Fauci already before his presidency. I have to admit that it is still a surprise to me that Fauci and Moderna had a vaccine ready for clinical manufacture already the day after China had made the genetic sequences public.

In conclusion, the US now argues that China is the new enemy, but nuclear bombs are not a weapon of choice. To avoid escalation to nuclear war, the US prefers to conduct PSYOP and POLWAR – for example, a “hybrid warfare” with the use biological weapons, which according to Assistant Secretary Kadlec is the ideal weapon. By suggesting a leak from a lab, a virus attack could be blamed on the enemy making it into a PSYOP. To conduct such operations would deny China its economic growth, while putting the blame on “its careless” scientists. In 2017, Kadlec’s later advisor proposed an exercise, a simulated viral outbreak at the Wuhan Lab. Kadlec’s Clade X exercise in 2018 prepared the US for a virus released from a lab.[276] His 2018 US Biodefense strategy emphasized a virus escaping a lab “accidentally”, as if the Wuhan Lab already was the target for an upcoming US clash with China. The White House replaced its pandemic experts. National security advisor Bolton replaced leaders of FEMA and Department of Homeland Security. From January to August 2019, Kadlec, these two agencies, and local US Governments ran simulations preparing the US for a viral outbreak in China, a pandemic spreading to the US. The next month, Matthew Pottinger, a “China hawk” from the SARS outbreak in Guangdong and Hong Kong, became deputy national security advisor, as if China and a SARS-like virus now from September 2019 had become US top-priority.[277] The Event 201 simulations in October 2019 prepared the US for a SARS-like coronavirus, a pandemic almost identical to the one that happened weeks later. In November, US Medical Intelligence reported about an upcoming “cataclysmic event”, a viral outbreak in Wuhan, which the US had planned for, for more than a year. The DIA, the Joint Chiefs, the Israelis, and the White House (but not President Trump) were all briefed more than a month before Chinese hospitals knew about it. China registered an “atypical pneumonia” epidemic from the very last days of December 2019, while US agencies supposedly knew about it since early November. By New Year, the Wuhan hospitals had registered 27 (or 41 on January 2) cases of a SARS-like virus, while the well-prepared US agencies turned a blind eye to it. They didn’t start with testing or isolation until mid-March, as if they wanted to cover-up for cases already existing in the US. They may have brought the virus to Wuhan to cover-up for their own “leak”, to make China economically and scientifically unable to surpass the US,278 and to make China into the new “evil”. However, US intelligence and several close advisors to President Donald Trump had apparently run a hidden pandemic policy that also hit US economy to a degree that Trump would be almost impossible to re-elect. To postpone the testing became necessary to the Administration to hide earlier spread of the virus in the US and to be able to blame it on China, but one hypothesis that is equally important: the delayed testing appears as a trap for Trump to prevent his re-election. His top advisors in the White House were allegedly briefed on the virus in November, while Trump himself was supposedly not briefed until January. They kept it from the erratic President for “plausible deniability”. They belonged to a “Deep State”279 that apparently tried to bring him down.

Available scientific research, including several phylogenetic studies, point either to a Guangdong (or rather to a Yunnan/Laos/Cambodia) virus as the “ancestral type” that had mutated and then spread to other countries, or to such a virus having passed through a US lab and then been seeded as a bioweapon in many countries, not least in China, where the outbreak in Wuhan at the Huanan seafood market first made this market appear as the origin of the virus. But in December 2019, the SARS CoV-2 in Wuhan turned out to be two genetically distant viruses indicating a much earlier common ancestor that wasn’t from Wuhan. The Italian, French, and US viruses appeared simultaneous or rather before any known “Wuhan virus”, and they were genetically distant from it. It was not the latter that had spread to Italy, France, or to the US. China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi described these new scientific revelations as “separate outbreaks in multiple places in the world”.280 And whatever it was, it was certainly not viruses that simultaneously jumped from bats to humans at “multiple places in the world”. However, the China hawks, like Pompeo and Pottinger, had deliberately and persistently used the term, “the Wuhan virus”, and Pompeo’s request to G7 to use this term and his refusal to sign its document (that did not refer to “the Wuhan virus”), tell us that this expression had been in the pipeline for some time. His persistent request to all Western states to hold China accountable for “the Wuhan virus” indicates that this was actually the point with the virus already before the very first reports in China.[281]

Trump says: “This is worse than Pearl Harbor, this is worse than the World Trade Center [911 …]. It should have been stopped right at the source [in China],”[282] as if this pandemic, like Pearl Harbor and September 11, is about to trigger a new US war, not a US participation in World War as in 1941, not a “War on Terror” as in 2001, but a 2021 “hybrid war” (an economic-biological war) with China that will remake global geopolitics.

The twenty years of “War on Terror” may be replaced by twenty years of “hybrid war” against China.

Domestically, however, the virus appears to have been a vehicle to bring down an erratic and less trustworthy President.

The media coverage (the ongoing “live news thriller”) shows that this is not a regular viral outbreak. It is something else. It is a Special Operation made into a major PSYOP. This is not just a serious flu. It is a “live exercise”, but “it could be much worse”, to quote Kadlec: “there will be another pandemic, guaranteed”.[283]

“Andreas Canetti” is a European professor emeritus in foreign policy.




[3] avirus_SARS-CoV-2_using_the_whole_genomic_data/links/5eab7cfb299bf18b958a7b00/Decoding-theevolution-and-transmissions-of-the-novel-pneumonia-coronavirus-SARS-CoV-2-using-the-whole-genomicdata.pdf?origin=publication_detail










[13] Robert Woodward, Rage (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2020), pp. 211-214.


[15] Alex Azar, Coronavirus Task Force Briefing, March 20, 2020






[21] avirus_SARS-CoV2_using_the_whole_genomic_data/links/5eab7cfb299bf18b958a7b00/Decoding-theevolution-and-transmissions-of-the-novel-pneumonia-coronavirus-SARS-CoV-2-using-the-whole-genomicdata.pdf?origin=publication_detail




[25] The China Syndrome Part II: Transmission and Response – Quillette









[34] A pneumonia outbreak associated with a new coronavirus of probable bat origin | Nature

[35] ;






[41] ;

[42] ; ; see also Rosanna Segreto & Yuri Deigin

[43] WHO-convened-global-study-of-origins-of-SARS-CoV-2-China-Part-joint-report.pdf



[46] (PDF) Diversity of coronavirus in bats from Eastern Thailand Emerging viruses (

[47] ;

[48] This letter was first published by The Lancet electronically on February 19, 2020 (see also Jon Cohen, ”Scientists ’strongly condemn’ rumors and conspiracy theories about origin of coronavirus outbreak”, Science, February 19, 2020 ). The Lancet letter was drafted by the President of the EcoHealth Alliance Peter Daszak, who have been working closely with the Wuhan Institute of Virology and with Dr Shi Zhengli. EcoHealth Alliance is not primarily an institute for ecology and health but an organization largely focusing on biodefense and funded by US Defense Department


[50] ; ; see also Stuart Newman Michael Antoniou



[53] Rosanna Segreto & Yuri Deigin



[56] Ibid.;




[60] ;


[62] ate_vaccine_for_covid19_sarscov2_developed_from_analysis_of_its_general_method_of_action_for_infectivit y.pdf

[63] Rosanna Segreto & Yuri Deigin



[66] ; In the Yunnan border province close to Laos and Burma, some people were supposedly eating bats hunted in the caves during the famine of the Mao era in the 1960s. At the time, people were eating anything. That does not make it into a Chinese cousine.

[67] .


[69] Ibid.; ;





[74] ; ;





[79] ; see also

[80] Li Xu, ”The Analysis of Six Patients with Severe Pneumonia Caused by Unknown Virus”, (Master’s Theis, Kunming Medical University, 2013), ;

[81] ;



[84] ;



[87] ;


[89] ;


[91] http:/ df







[98] ; Xu Dezhong,, The Unnatural Origin of Sars and New Species of Man-Made Viruses as Genetic Bioweapons (2015)





[103]ō_Ishii ; ; Stephen Endicott & Edward Hagerman, The United States and Biological Warfare – Secrets from the Early Cold War Years (Indiana University Press, 1998).






[109] Arte (Dirk Pohlmann) interview with Admiral James ”Ace” Lyons, August 2014 for the documentary Täuschung – Die Methode Reagan (2015)


[111] ; Täuschung – Die Methode Reagan – YouTube


[113] 285 million if you do not calculate with the deaths cause by hunger and radiation.


[115] Lt Col Robert P. Kadlec, “Biological Weapons for Waging Economic Warfare”, in Schneider and Grinter, eds, Battlefield of the future (The Air War College, 1998), pp. 227-250.

[116] Modelling the global economic consequences of a major African swine fever outbreak in China | Nature Food ; ;

[117] Robert P. Kadlex, “Twenty-First Century Germ Warfare”, in Barry R. Schneider and Lawrence E. Grinter, eds, Battlefield of the future (The Air War College, 1998) Ibid; Lt Col Robert P. Kadlec, “Biological Weapons for Waging Economic Warfare”, in Schneider and Grinter (1998), pp. 251-266.

[118] Lt Col Robert P. Kadlec, “Biological Weapons for Waging Economic Warfare”, in Schneider and Grinter (1998)




[122] Endicott & Hagerman (1998); The Japanese Unit 731 with Lieutenant General Shiro Ishii used smallpox, cholera, botulism, bubonic plague, typhoid, dysentery and anthrax and was responsible for the extensive killing in Manchuria with perhaps 400,000 casualties. After the war Shiro Ishii and his team was brought to US bioweapons laboratory in Fort Detrick, where they trained US personnel, who then were used during the Korean War. For a long time, the US claimed that the use of biological weapons in Korea was Chinese and Soviet propaganda, but that is now disconfirmed by newly declassified US documents See also US Navy declassified film on use of bioweapons


[124] PpBSg_zzvEpy_elsF9No0XtAlFnrTbcQ3O8T0nSAPiuoYxAk4-lnxvweWEFYu41EIwPiExWRblAo9_2Oi9kjrtEEzrs0pdHPLCBhVsah9KgzMrRooI6Hizh0wxXKTODitqjgCPBv_YcSwG3ulrWwSpoQobXyd3xeSsgmYBDm vxa_fo6PdUaa1Y6NLTGkEM2IcWv69aWG-ekSVVqgABAo0hZkVC064tvxrcs11BNOPXLhLkcdIFoUUtMWxTOEArbbOsG9duhElfHfsyvRyGu1mSZfSQwI



[127] Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) (



[130] Ibid.;

[131] Former Deputy Defence Minister of Kazakhstan Before His Death Warned About US Bio-Developments • Сталкер Zone (

[132] Coronavirus: Bioterror and the US military laboratory in Kazakhstan – Investigation – Fort Russ (


[134] tropicalmed-04-00136-v2.pdf

[135] Nikita Mendkovich The U.S. Army tested bioweapons in CIS countries: investigation. : Insider_JA (

[136] Diversity of coronavirus in bats from Eastern Thailand (

[137] See note 48.


[139] http:/



[142] Rebuilding Americas Defenses, Report of The Project for the New American Century, September 2000, p. 60






[148] Kadlex, “Twenty-First Century Germ Warfare”, in Schneider & Grinter (1998).

[149] Quoted in Carnes & Barnett, eds., Political Warfare and Psychological Operations – Rethinking the US Approach (Washington: National Defense University Press & National Strategy Information Center, 1989).




[153] See the first pages above;















[168] ; ;











[179] qfKAc485ysgAAArcwggKzBgkqhkiG9w0BBwagggKkMII








[187] umonia_coronavirus_SARS-CoV-2_using_the_whole_genomic_data





[192] ; se also the earlier study ; Origins, natural reservoirs and Interspecies transmission of SARSCoV- 2 and other SARS-like CoVs ( ; Origins, natural reservoirs and Interspecies transmission of SARSCoV- 2 and other SARS-like CoVs : Institut Pasteur du Laos ; Genetic diversity of coronaviruses in bats in Lao PDR and Cambodia | Request PDF ( ;


[194] Exclusive: WHO Covid-19 origins report says lab leak ‘extremely unlikely’ (


[196] ;


[198] The genetic structure of SARS‐CoV‐2 does not rule out a laboratory origin – Segreto – 2021 – BioEssays Wiley Online Library



[201] Exclusive: WHO Covid-19 origins report says lab leak ‘extremely unlikely’ (





[206] ;






[212] Fdes-sportifs-francais-contamines-par-le-covid-19-des-octobre-aux-jeux-militaires-de-wuhan


[214] ;





[219] ;






[225] Robert Woodward, Rage (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2020), pp. 211-214.

[226] Robert Woodward, Rage (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2020), pp. 211-214.





[231] Interview with Anthony Fauci in the CNN documentary ”Covid War”, March 28, 2021.

[232] ; Woodward, 2020), pp. 219.

[233] Private conversation with European vaccine producer, November 2020.




[237] Robert Woodward, Rage (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2020), pp. xiii-xv; 232-233.

[238] Ibid.






[244] ; Woodward (2020), pp. xviii; 286.









[253] ; ;






[259] ;






[265] ;








[273] act


[275] ;









Source: Andreas Canetti – The Unz Review